One of the most common contaminants in cell culture laboratories is mycoplasma. Cells are usually infected by cross-contamination from not tested infected cells (eg, through aerosols generated during pipetting, using the same medium bottles, working with more than one cell type at a time), contaminated material, contaminated donor tissue (<1%), or direct infection from the researcher.
Mycoplasma grows slowly and does not necessarily kill the cells, but affects different cellular parameters, such as changing the cell membrane's antigenicity, creating chromosomal level changes, inhibiting cell metabolism and fragmenting DNA.
To ensure accurate and reliable results from cell culture experiments, it is important to regularly test cell cultures for mycoplasma contamination. It can be challenging to detect mycoplasmas contamination because it does not cause change in pH or turbidity of the cell culture medium, which are common indicators of other contaminants.
We recommend MycoAlert ™ Mycoplasma Detection Kit from Lonza, a safe and easy test that takes very little time to perform.