skip to main content



Catalogue No.


Cell Line Name


Cell Line Description

Derived from pupal ovarian tissue of spodoptera frugiperda. The cells are highly susceptible to Baculovirus infection and are used in the production of protein products genetically manipulated into Baculovirus vector systems. They were derived at the USDA Insect Pathology Laboratory from a cell line originating from pupal ovarian tissue of the fall army worm, Spodoptera frugiperda. Sf21 cells have greater range in size and have a doubling time of 24 hr compared to 48-72 hr for Sf9 cells.


Tissue of Origin





Not specified


Protein expression using the Baculovirus vector system


None Stated

Culture Conditions

Subculture Routine

Split sub-confluent cultures (70-80%) 1:2 i.e. seeding at 5x10,000 cells/cm²; 28°C. Gently resuspend cells in old culture medium by dislodging the cells by pipetting, or gentle agitation, centrifuge suspension and resuspend cell pellet in fresh medium. This is an adherent cell line but will grow successfully in suspension. Freeze in 10% DMSO/90% foetal bovine serum (FBS). Cultures may take up to 10 days to recover normal growth characteristics following cryopreservation and resuscitation.

Culture Medium

SF90011 + 10% Foetal Bovine Serum (FBS)

Growth Mode


Additional Info


Mick Shaw, AstraZeneca, Cheshire

Country of Origin

United Kingdom

Hazard Group (ACDP)

Hazard Group (ACDP) 2



Vaughn JL, Goodwin RH, Tompkins GJ, McCawley P. 1977 The establishment of two cell lines from the insect Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera; Noctuidae). In Vitro. 13(4):213-7 PMID: 68913.


Smith GE, Ju G, Ericson BL, Moschera J, Lahm HW, Chizzonite R, Summers MD. 1985 Modification and secretion of human interleukin 2 produced in insect cells by a baculovirus expression vector. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 82(24):8404-8 PMID: 3878519.

Available Formats

  • Frozen

If use of this culture results in a scientific publication, it should be cited in the publication as: Sf21 (ECACC 05022801).

Unless specified otherwise, at ECACC we routinely handle all of our cell lines at containment level 2 in accordance with the ACDP guidelines (Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens) (UK). All cell cultures have the potential to carry as yet unidentified adventitious agents. It is the responsibility of the end user to ensure that their facilities comply with biosafety regulations for their own country. ACDP Guidance: Biological agents: Managing the risks in laboratories and healthcare premises.

The Culture Collections represent deposits of cultures from world-wide sources. While every effort is made to ensure details distributed by Culture Collections are accurate, Culture Collections cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies in the data supplied. References where quoted are mainly attributed to the establishment of the cell culture and not for any specific property of the cell line, therefore further references should be obtained regarding cell culture characteristics. Passage numbers where given act only as a guide and Culture Collections does not guarantee the passage number stated will be the passage number received by the customer.

Cultures supplied by Culture Collections are for research purposes only. Enquiries regarding the commercial use of a cell line are referred to the depositor of the cell line. Some cell lines have additional special release conditions such as the requirement for a material transfer agreement to be completed by the potential recipient prior to the supply of the cell line. Please view the Terms & Conditions of Supply for more information.