An agitated 12-well microtiter plate system with a working volume of 2ml was investigated for cell culture process development. Agitation assures homogeneity in wells and enhances mass transfer between the gas and the liquid phase, thus improving maximum cell density and pH stability. The pH of the NaHCO(3)-buffered system can be adjusted by altering the carbon dioxide content of the gas phase. The non-toxic, visual pH indicator phenol red was used in combination with a spectrophotometric plate reader for rapid and precise pH measurements. For high throughputs, cell growth was assessed non-invasively using stable green fluorescent protein (GFP) expressing cells and a fluorescence plate reader. The setup is simple and inexpensive. The system can be automated and allows several hundred small-scale bioreactor experiments to be run in parallel.