Recombinant monoclonal antibodies are predominantly produced in mammalian cell culture bioprocesses. Post-translational modifications affect the micro-heterogeneity of the product and thereby influence important quality attributes, such as stability, solubility, pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. The analysis of the surface charge distribution of monoclonal antibodies provides aggregated information about these modifications. In this work, we established a direct injection pH gradient cation exchange chromatography method, which determines charge heterogeneity from cell culture supernatant without any purification steps. This tool was further applied to monitor processes that were performed under certain process conditions. Concretely, we were able to provide insights into charge variant formation during a fed-batch process of a Chinese hamster ovary cell culture, in turn producing a monoclonal antibody under varying temperatures and glucose feed strategies. Glucose concentration impacted the total emergence of acidic variants, whereas the variation of basic species was mainly dependent on process temperature. The formation rates of acidic species were described with a second-order reaction, where a temperature increase favored the conversion. This platform method will aid as a sophisticated optimization tool for mammalian cell culture processes. It provides a quality fingerprint for the produced mAb, which can be tested, compared to the desired target and confirmed early in the process chain.