Animal cell cultivation in vitro has been studied for more than 40 years. However, the culture medium composition has not been designed on the basis of the stoichiometric nutritional demands for animal cell growth. In this article, a model was developed to study the stoichiometric demands for nutrients (including glucose, 20 amino acids, and 10 vitamins)for the synthesis of cell mass and product. The coefficients for these nutrients in the stoichiometric equation governing animal cell growth were determined based on cell composition. In addition, a detailed analysis of the nutrients′ roles in the synthesis of cell mass and product was also performed. Applications of the stoichiometric analysis in animal cell cultivation, such as culture medium design, supplemental medium formulation, and feeding strategy will also be discussed. The stoichiometric analysis can be potentially employed to analyze results from animal cell cultures, to improve the performance of culture processes, and to design new process rationally. It can also help to provide a better understanding of animal cell metabolism. Simplifications on the cellular energy metabolism were made in order to simplify the model and to provide the preliminary bases to test the process performance. However, this could introduce inaccuracies for the model and results in errors in the calculations of glucose and glutamine concentrations when employed in medium design. © 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.