Cross comparison of rapid mycoplasma detection platforms

Lawrence B, Bashiri H, Dehghani H
Source: Biol Proced Online
Publication Date: (2010)
Issue: 38(2): 218-223
The use of animal and plant derived raw materials in mammalian cell culture processes may provide a possible route of entry for adventitious contaminants such as mycoplasma. Mycoplasma contaminations of cell culture represent a serious challenge to the production of biotechnology derived therapeutics. The slow growing nature of mycoplasma can disguise their infection of cultures since cells may continue to proliferate, though at reduced levels and with lesser output of engineered protein. Rapid identification of mycoplasma contaminated cell cultures and materials enables a faster response time to prevent the spread of the contamination. We describe here the comparison of different mycoplasma detection methods: two nucleic acid-based technologies, the standard mycoplasma culture procedure, and a hybrid culture-quantitative PCR assay. In this study, a cell line infected with two species of mycoplasma was used to compare the different detection methods. Our data demonstrates that the two nucleic acid-based techniques are robust methods for detection of mycoplasma and have similar detection capability. In contrast, no mycoplasma was detected in the standard culture assay or in a hybrid culture-quantitative PCR assay. This shows a potential limitation of the culture assay that relies on the ability of mycoplasma to grow in broth media.