Why Test for Mycoplasmas in
Mycoplasma contamination is a widespread and reoccurring problem in a wide variety of cell culture systems. These micro-organisms, which belong to the class Mollicutes, are comparatively small (0.2 – 0.3 µm), lack a cell wall and are thus not susceptible to penicillins or other antibiotics that act on this structure, and they show tolerance to many other antibiotics. This allows them to grow to high titers in culture media without exhibiting typical bacterial contamination signs, like turbidity.
Contamination of a bioreactor can lead to significant loss of time, materials and revenue unless identified early in the process. In fact, microbial contamination is one of the primary reasons for batch failure in biopharmaceutical production. It is therefore important to test for mycoplasmas at various points in the manufacturing process. To this end, Merck provides both compendial and rapid solutions for reliable Mycoplasma detection.