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Mycoplasma Testing Services

Small, bright pink flat, paddle-shaped Mycoplasma genitalium bacteria.

Choose between PCR- or culture-based mycoplasma testing

Sensitive testing with expert analysis

Explore our ATCC mycoplasma testing options

To help you detect or rule out mycoplasma contamination of your cell cultures quickly, ATCC offers two different mycoplasma testing services to choose from: PCR-based mycoplasma testing, which is rapid and sensitive, and culture-based mycoplasma testing, which is also sensitive and includes both direct and indirect culture methods that are based on the Food and Drug Administration's Points to Consider in the Characterization of Cell Lines Used to Produce Biologicals.


Mycoplasma is a pervasive, cunning threat to your cell cultures

Mycoplasma corrupts cell cultures easily—and without scientists’ knowledge—for a multitude of reasons. Mycoplasma doesn’t cause media turbidity or pH changes, brings about few metabolic byproducts, and can’t be detected by microscopy. Once it has contaminated cells, mycoplasma can cause chromosomal aberrations, disrupt nucleic acid synthesis, change membrane antigenicity, inhibit cell proliferation and metabolism, decrease transfection rates, change gene expression profiles, and even bring about cell death. For these reasons, routine screening of cell lines for mycoplasma contamination is essential.


Mycoplasma testing recommendations 

Test your cell lines:

  • When you receive a cell line into the laboratory 
  • After 10 passages
  • After preparing a cell bank
  • When in doubt

ATCC mycoplasma testing services

20101222-01 Universal Mycoplasma Detection Kit.jpg

PCR-based Mycoplasma Testing

To help you detect mycoplasma quickly and reliably, ATCC offers a highly sensitive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) service, with results in 3-5 business days. 

Our assay can identify over 60 species of Mycoplasma, Acholeplasma, Spiroplasma, and Ureaplasma, including the top 8 species most likely to affect cell cultures: M. arginini, M. fermentans, M. hominis, M. hyorhinis, M. orale, M. pirum, M. salivarium, and A. laidlawii.

ATCC’s PCR-based mycoplasma testing service is easy to use and fast. You simply order the service, and we’ll send you a sample collection kit, which you can use to spot your cells and then return to ATCC for analysis. The kit combines easy-to-use Whatman FTA sample collection cards with ATCC's best-selling Universal Mycoplasma Detection Kit (ATCC 30-1012K). 

Learn about PCR-based Mycoplasma Testing
Gold, bean-shaped pods of Mycoplasma pneumoniae.

Culture-based Mycoplasma Testing

If a higher level of scrutiny is required in mycoplasma contamination testing, as with biopharmaceutical products, ATCC provides a bundled service of direct and indirect mycoplasma culture testing.

Because the FDA recommends 2 confirmatory mycoplasma culture-based testing methods to eliminate false positives, ATCC offers the following 2 testing services together:

Direct culture testing, which uses both broth and agar and includes results within 5 weeks.

Indirect culture testing, which detects nonculturable mycoplasma strains using the Hoechst DNA stain and includes results within 7 to 10 business days.

Both tests are based on the FDA Points to Consider in the Characterization of Cell Lines Used to Produce Biologicals.

Learn about culture-based mycoplasma testing

Compare ATCC mycoplasma testing services

Choose the option that's right for you.

Option 1: PCR-based Mycoplasma Testing Service 

Option 2: Culture-based Mycoplasma Testing Service

ATCC number ATCC 136-XV
ATCC 119-X
Sample format FTA collection card and kit provided, cells mailed to ATCC Live cell cultures mailed to ATCC
Schedule testing No Yes
Test method Universal Mycoplasma Detection Kit (ATCC 30-1012K)
used to amplify material eluted from FTA paper
Direct culture method uses broth and agar.
Indirect culture method uses Hoechst DNA staining.
Protocol PCR FDA Points to Consider
Result type Qualitative (positive/negative) Qualitative (positive/negative)
Delivery PDF reports emailed PDF reports emailed
Report received within 5 business days Direct culture – 4-5 weeks
Indirect culture – 7-10 business days
  • Rapid
  • Reproducible
  • Sensitive
  • Cost effective
  • Can detect a broad range of mycoplasma species,
    including nonculturable strains.
  • Sensitive
  • Detects viable cells, indicating an active infection.
  • Indirect culture testing– enables the detection of
    nonculturable mycoplasma strains.

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