Contamination of cell cultures is a very common but serious issue in cell culture laboratories around the world. Contamination may arise from impurities in contaminated reagents, poor aseptic technique, and cross contamination by other cells used in the lab. Biological contaminants include bacteria and fungi (yeasts and molds) which thrive in nutrient rich cell culture media. The most common biological contaminant is the highly contagious and ubiquitous organism, Mycoplasma. Many studies have shown that a high percentage of cell cultures around the world are contaminated with Mycoplasma which is capable of altering cellular metabolism, protein synthesis, morphology, and most importantly, experimental data.
Contamination can be controlled or prevented by using the following antibiotics and antimycotics to eliminate or reduce the number of biological cell culture contaminants.