Mycoplasma and House Dust Mites; the tiny troublesome duo
Mycoplasma’s are the nightmare of every laboratory personnel where sometimes it seems they can’t wake up from. They are responsible for cell culture contamination which can lead to negative influence on the research results. Don’t be startled if you found out about Mycoplasma’s for the first time at your laboratory, because they are responsible for up to 60% of the contamination of cell culture. So, after reading the title, you may think; what do mycoplasmas have to do with House Dust Mites? This article will explain more about these parasites, how they are linked to HDM’s and of course; how can you wake up form this nightmare?
With Citeq being a producer of House dust mite (HDM) materials and source materials, our products are also used in cell based assays. A possible contaminant of the HDM products was noticed at the cell culture laboratory at Citeq. During the cell culture analyses it was observed that cell growth was inhibited, but the cause was unknown. A well-known genus of bacteria, the Mollicute class, are known to be one of the most common cell culture contaminants. As a result, the cell culture was tested for the presence of Mycoplasma using the famous PCR technique. Results showed that the cell culture was positive for Mycoplasmas, which means that the cells were indeed infected. In this way the suspicion arose that Mycoplasmas could be present in the mites and mite (source)materials.
After these findings, all our products were tested for mycoplasmas by PCR and cultivation on agar. The important part of the testing was to find out if the mycoplasmas are viable, since this form can cause infections. The PCR method can’t distinguish viable and non-viable mycoplasma but cultivation on agar makes sure to also detect the viable mycoplasma. Results showed that mycoplasma was detected by PCR but also by agar, which means that the HDM’s contain active mycoplasma bacteria. Being pathogenic, these bacteria could cause infections in humans during diagnostic and research applications with these products. This topic has not been extensively researched before and Citeq is the first to discover these findings.