Rapid Mycoplasma Testing Service Delivers Speed, Sensitivity And Specificity To A Broad Scope Of Sample Matrices
By Dr. Jeri Ann Boose, director, Biopharmaceutical Services, and Dr. Weihong Wang, manager, Molecular & Cell Biology Services
Mycoplasma are the smallest known self-replicating prokaryotes. They parasitize a wide range of host organisms, including humans, animals, plants and insects and are common contaminants of mammalian cell culture. Due to their small size, mycoplasmas can readily pass through 0.2 μm filters used to maintain sterility. Sources for the introduction of mycoplasmas into cell culture systems include: cell culture media and additives, the use of previously infected cells and laboratory personnel.
Although visual signs indicative of mycoplasma contamination are often lacking, mycoplasma contamination of cell lines used to produce biopharmaceutical products can disrupt cellular growth and metabolism and lead to changes in gene expression. These adverse cytopathological events can result in decreased product quantity and quality.
More importantly, mycoplasma infections have been associated with respiratory illness, urethritis and arthritis, and they act as a co-factor in numerous infectious diseases. It is for these reasons that world-wide regulatory agencies require that biotechnological products produced in cell substrates be tested to ensure the absence of mycoplasma contamination.