Tissue cell cultures can become contaminated by mycoplasma species without you knowing, which can be a serious problem. Mycoplasma can cause alterations in cell growth and metabolism, or induce morphological changes or chromosomal abnormalities. Potential sources of contamination are laboratory personnel, contaminated products used for cell culture, or exposure to contaminated cultures.
The FAF offers mycoplasma testing using a PCR based MycoDtect kit from Greiner Bio-One. A fluorescent primer pair is used to amplify the conserved 16S - 23S intergenic spacer region of ribosomal RNA. Amplified fragments are hybridized to a MycoDtect DNA-array for detection of all mycoplasma species using a universal probe while simultaneously identifying nine of the most common mycoplasma species with species-specific probes. Species identification can help to identify and treat the source of contamination.
Screening for mycoplasma contamination is recommended on a regular basis, and before cell banking and cryopreservation.
Please place your order through our new secure online ordering system. Click on "Create New Account" to create a login.
For assistance filling out the online request please call 443-287-7948 or view our Mycoplasma Ordering Instructions.
Delivery of samples
JH Customers: Drop samples off in Blalock 1004 with the GeneSifter order number, Monday - Friday from 9 AM - 4:00 PM.
External Customers: Send the samples with the GeneSifter order number to:
Fragment Analysis Facility
Johns Hopkins University
2760 Lighthouse Point East, Suite 201
Baltimore, MD 21224
Phone (443) 287-7948
Samples should be sent for delivery Monday through Friday only.
Samples may be submitted from growing culture or as frozen ampoules. We accept pelleted cells, supernatant or frozen stocks. The FAF will accept BSL-1 and BSL-2 samples for testing. If submitting samples for mycoplasma testing and cell line authentication follow the below growing culture cell pellet instructions.
Instructions for growing cultures: Passage cells in antibiotic-free media twice. Do not change the medium or dilute with fresh medium during the last 72 hours before testing. Cells should be 50-80% confluent.
Note: Samples grown in antibiotics or given fresh medium prior to testing may have artificially low mycoplasma levels if present or may give a false negative result.
Cell Pellets: Remove all but approximately 5 to 7 ml of medium in a T25 flask or 8 to 10ml in a T75 flask. Use a cell scraper to dissociated cells from the substrate. Transfer the cell suspension to a 15 ml conical tube for submission. Centrifuge to pellet cells then remove supernatant.
Supernatant: Remove 5ml - 10ml supernatant from flask to a 15ml conical tube.
Frozen stock: Ampoule may be delivered at room temperature.
PricingMycoplasma testing only: $60/sample
Mycoplasma AND cell line authentication (STR profiling) from the same cell pellet:
- StemElite: $126/sample (Basic Service)
- Identifiler: $153/sample (Basic Service)
- StemElite: $166/sample (Basic Service plus Profile Search)
- Identifiler: $193/sample (Basic Service plus Profile Search)
Please see our website for more information about STR profiling of cell lines
*Listed pricing is for Johns Hopkins investigators; all other customers will have a 16% administrative fee added. International customers using a credit card will have an additional $25 processing fee added in addition to the administrative fee.
Procedure and sensitivity
DNA is extracted from the cell culture supernatant using a DNEasy Blood & Tissue kit automated with a QIAcube (Qiagen). A MycoDtect internal control is added prior to isolation to monitor the DNA extraction process and template use for the amplification. Using a highly conserved Cy5 fluorescent-labeled primer pair the DNA is polymerase chain amplified (PCR) for the 16S-23S rRNA intergenic spacer region of any mycoplasma species present. A PCR control within the PCR MasterMix allows for validation of the PCR. The labeled products are then hybridized to complementary sequences on the MycoDtect chip. Each mycoplasma species, the universal probe, and the internal and PCR controls are each detected by five measuring points on the chip. Non-specifically bound probes are removed by washing. The bound labeled probes are detected by stimulation with monochromatic light and analyzed using CheckReport software. The MycoDtect assay will detect both viable and non-viable mycoplasma, it will not distinguish between the two.
Greiner Bio-One has tested MycoDtect with the following Mollicutes species: A. axanthum, A. laidlawii, A. modicum, A. morum, A. oculi, A. vituli, M. alkalescens, M. arginini, M.arthritidis, M. bovigenitalium, M. bovirhinis, M. bovis, M. bovoculi, M. buccale, M. californicum, M.canadense, M. canis, M. eqhirhinis, M. faucium, M. fermentans, M. flocculare, M. gallinaceum, M.gallinarum, M. gallisepticum, M. genitalium, M. glycophilium, M. hominis, M. hyopharyngis, M.hyopneumoniae, M. hyorhinis, M. hyosynoviae, M. orale, M. pirum, M. pneumoniae, M. pulmonis, M.salivarium, M. synoviae, S. citri, S. kunkelii, U. diversum, U. urealyticum.
In addition, MycoDtect was tested by Greiner Bio-One with a broad range of closely related bacteria. None of the tested bacteria showed a signal with the specific probes, but some hybridized to the universal probe. For a detailed list, please contact Laura Kasch.
FAF services may only be used for research purposes. Any data or samples generated by the facility may not be used for human diagnostic or therapeutic use.