Microbial Detection & Elimination

Cell culture contamination is a commonly occurring problem that affects many of the cell’s biochemical and immunological properties, and it leads to unsatisfactory and unreliable results. Therefore, regularly testing cell cultures for contamination with mycoplasmas or bacteria is essential. PromoKine provides highly sensitive and user-friendly test kits for this purpose as well as products for the effective elimination and prevention of mycoplasma and eubacteria contamination.


Mycoplasma Safety

Mycoplasmas are parasitic prokaryotic microorganisms of the Mollicutes class lacking a true cell wall. They are the smallest sized prokaryotes and many of them are considered pathogenic. Mycoplasma contamination is often detected in cell cultures and consequently, virus cultures, vaccines and other biological materials produced in cells also become contaminated.

Mycoplasma contamination in cell lines used for research is indeed a very common and serious problem, even though it often remains unnoticed since no cloudiness appears in the cell culture. In most cases, visual detection of such contaminations or detection using a normal light microscope is impossible. Although mycoplasmas does not cause visible damage to cells, the contamination often causes biochemical changes as well as changes in the immunological properties of the cells. It undeniably affects cell metabolism, cell growth in culture, cell transfection, protein and monoclonal antibody synthesis, cytokine secretion, signal transduction, virus proliferation and even causes damage to DNA and RNA. Mycoplasmas can account for 50% of protein and 30% of DNA isolated from cell culture. Hence, results obtained from experiments are biased and unconfident when mycoplasmas are present. Various studies show that the percentage of contaminated cultures in cell banks is 10-80% and up to 40% of cell cultures in research laboratories are contaminated. Mycoplasma contamination can originate from bovine serum, laboratory employees, other contaminated cultures, or the animals from which the cells have been harvested. Standard antibiotics commonly used in cell culture (e.g. Pen/Strep) do not protect from mycoplasma contamination. Nevertheless, since mycoplasma-infected cells cannot always be discarded, many complicated methods have been suggested for the elimination of the mycoplasmas.

The most prevalent mycoplasma species detected in contaminated cell cultures include M. fermentans, M. hyorhinis, M. arginini, M. orale, M. salivarium, M. hominis, M. pulmonis and M. pirum.


PromoKine now offers convenient PCR based kits for fast, ultra-sensitive and reliable detection of contaminating mycoplasmas in various biological materials including cell cultures and virus stocks. PromoKine's PCR Mycoplasma Test Kits are very user friendly and contain all components required for performing successful PCR tests for mycoplasma contamination following an easy protocol for sample preparation and PCR. The kits are available for conventional PCR and Real Time PCR and detect very specifically more than 20 mycoplasma and ureoplasma species with highest sensitivity. A PCR based kit for fast, accurate and reliable detection of 45 eubacteria (many of them usually found as contaminants in cell culture)  is available as well.

PromoKine also provides reagents and kits for elimination of contaminating mycoplasmas. The Mycoplasma-EX Kit consits of a non-antibiotic, mycoplasma killing reagent and an antibiotic mycoplasma growth inhibiting solution. This combination has been shown to be highly active in the thorough elimination of mycoplasma species that are responsible for more than 90% of the contaminations found in cell cultures. When used according to our instructions, extremely efficient mycoplasma elimination will be achieved while no cytotoxic effects will occur. In addition, classical antibiotic solutions effective against mycoplasmas in cell culture are also available.