A working system for studying the effects of factors involved in the chemical nature of microcarriers on cell attachment, spreading, and growth was established. The system is based on polyacrylamide beads, prepared by the emulsion polymerization technique. Sieved beads of desirable mean diameter were derivatized to generate controlled amounts of primary and tertiary amino groups. These microcarriers were used for the propagation of four different cell strains: BHK, MDCK, CEF, and MRC‐5. It was found that BHK cells attach and spread significantly faster on primary amino‐derivatized beads than those with tertiary amino groups, and at a lower degree of charging. Cell yields of MDCK cells (with pronounced epithelial morphology) propagated on primary amino‐derivatized beads were higher than that obtained for the tertiary amino‐derivatized microcarriers. On the other hand, CEF and MRC‐5 cells (with pronounced fibroblast morphology) achieved higher cell yields on the tertiary amino‐derivatized microcarriers.