What is a tissue culture microscope?

The study of tissue cultures is essential for both life science research and the pharmaceutical field, yet it comes with a major challenge of its own.

The nature of tissue cultivation means that the cells are often best observed from below, which is a problem for regular microscopes. Fortunately, this issue is easily solved with an inverted tissue culture microscope, such as the Nikon Eclipse Ts2.

What is a tissue culture microscope?

The tissue culture microscope is basically a type of inverted microscope.

With a regular microscope, the light source is situated underneath the specimen, and the objective lens is above it. But with a tissue culture microscope, it’s the other way around.

You still look down through the eyepieces, but the objective lens is located below the sample, and is illuminated from above. This setup allows you to observe the sample from underneath. As cultures tend to flourish or settle at the bottom of containers, like petri dishes, flasks and multi-well plates, this setup is ideal.


Inverted microscopes offer several advantages over traditional upright microscopes.

  • Natural state observation: You can see the specimens in their containers directly, allowing you to observe them in their natural state.
  • Efficient handling: The design allows for easier manipulation of samples and quick switching between samples. This efficiency in sample handling can speed up your overall workflow.
  • Larger containers: Tissue culture microscopes can accommodate larger containers without any practical limitations.
  • No sample preparation: There’s no need to spend time preparing slides. You can view samples in the containers they were grown in.
  • Continuous monitoring: Since you don’t have to prepare samples, you can continuously and easily observe cultures over time, either visually or with a digital recorder, making it simple to document any changes.
  • Enhanced safety: The objective lenses are securely protected below the stage, eliminating the risk of direct contamination with the samples. This means even contagious specimens can be observed safely.

Additional features

More advanced tissue culture microscopes, such as the Nikon Ts2, offer a range of additional features to further enhance their capabilities and streamline your workflow.

Here are some examples:

  • Compact, practical design that fits in most lab incubators
  • Built-in fluorescence illumination
  • Phase contrast capability
  • Nikon’s ‘Emboss Contrast’ technique for easy contrast with no extra optics
  • Heated stage plates to keep samples at their optimum temperature
  • Programmable illumination settings
  • Programmable camera control units with interval timers. 

With the right type of tissue culture microscope – properly set up for your specific work routine – you will work quicker, feel more comfortable and greatly increase the quality of images and data generated from your cell cultures. 

A precision instrument such as the Nikon Ts2 Inverted Microscope will not only speed up your overall workflow but is virtually guaranteed to enhance the accuracy of your observations.

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