Mycoplasma Detection/Elimination

By: Don Finley, BioFiles v7 n1, 2011, 14–15

BioFiles Volume 7, Number 1 — Cell Culture Contamination

Download BioFiles v7 n1 (2.55 Mb PDF)

The maintenance of contamination-free cell lines is essential to cell-based research. Among the biggest concerns are mycoplasma contamination. Although mycoplasma do not usually kill contaminated cells, they are difficult to detect and can cause a variety of effects on cultured cells, including altered metabolism, slowed proliferation and chromosomal aberrations. In short, mycoplasma contamination compromises the value of those cell lines in providing accurate data for life science research.

The sources of mycoplasma contamination in the laboratory are very challenging to completely control. As certain mycoplasma species are found on human skin, they can be introduced through poor aseptic technique. Additionally, they can come from contaminated supplements such as fetal bovine serum, and most importantly from other contaminated cell cultures. Once mycoplasma contaminates a culture, it can quickly spread to contaminate other areas of the lab. Strict adherence to good laboratory practices such as good aseptic technique are key, and routine testing for mycoplasma is highly recommended for successful control of mycoplasma contamination. The products below represent a complete toolkit for myplasma contamination detection and elimination. The three most popular methods for detection include mycoplasma culture, DNA staining method and PCR.


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