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Mycoplasma Contamination

Overview – What is Mycoplasma contamination?

Mycoplasma is a genus of parasitic or saprophytic bacteria. They are a major problem in cell cultures due to their resistance to most antibiotics and their small size. Mycoplasma are not visible under the light microscope, and they attach to cells, grow fast and compete for nutrient with the cells.

Determining a Mycoplasma contamination is a basic necessity for biologists working with cell lines and tissue culture. Signs of Mycoplasma contamination are difficult to catch with standard cell culture techniques. Mycoplasma cause no visible changes in cell culture media and most de-contamination cell culture protocols are ineffective against these common contaminants.

Common Mycoplasma contaminants are Mycoplasma arginini, M. fermentans, M. orale, M. hyorhinis, M. hominis, M. genitalium, M. salivarium, M. synoviae, M. pirum, M. gallisepticum, M. pneumoniae, M. yeatsii, Spiroplasma citri and Acholeplasma laidlawii.


Applications – What are the advantages of testing for Mycoplasma contamination?

Mycoplasma negatively impact the cell lines they infect by severely altering cellular properties. The results of a Mycoplasma contamination could be:

  • Change of gene expression of the used cell line (defence response for instance)
  • Incorrect data Interpretation
  • Non-reproducible results
  • Eventually misleading publications

Workflow - Methods & Technologies to detect Mycoplasma contamination

In order to troubleshoot cell culture contamination with Mycoplasma, regular testing for Mycoplasma is strongly recommended. Taking into account speed, reliability and cost, one of the preferred ways to check for Mycoplasma in cell culture is with a PCR-based test. However, performing the Mycoplasma PCR test in one’s own laboratory is time-consuming, laborious and could lead to inconclusive results.


Products related to Mycoplasma

Mycoplasmacheck is an efficient service for the detection of Mycoplasma in cell culture. The PCR-based test for Mycoplasma offers a quick and precise check of tissue culture for Mycoplasma contamination with standardised protocols and automated workflows in an accredited laboratory.

Mycoplasmacheck uses specifically designed primers and probes for the detection of all Mycoplasma species that commonly contaminate tissue culture.


Are you investigating the gene expression of cells? Eurofins Genomics has the fastest primers that are suitable for every kind of standard and real-time PCR:

(q)PCR Primer NightXpress

Did you know that Eurofins Genomics offers a broad range of gene Expression Services such as Transcriptome Analysis and Target Gene Expression?

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