Direct qPCR is a sensitive approach to detect Mycoplasma contamination in U937 cell cultures

Zain Baaity, Sven Breunig, Kamil Önder, Ferenc Somogyvári

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: We aim to directly detect Mycoplasma DNA in a U937 suspension cell culture without using DNA purification. In order to make Mycoplasma contamination monitoring easier, we optimized a commercially available quantitative PCR (qPCR)-based detection kit. We compared the sensitivity of direct qPCR against qPCR with a purified DNA template. Results: Our findings indicate that qPCR worked optimally with a 6 μl sample volume and a 52 °C annealing-extension temperature. We were able to decrease the annealing-extension step time from 60 to 20 s without any major decrease in reaction sensitivity. The total cycle time of optimized direct qPCR was 65 min. The optimized qPCR protocol was used to detect Mycoplasma DNA before and after DNA purification. Our findings indicate that direct qPCR had a higher sensitivity than regular qPCR. Ct levels produced by direct qPCR with 6 μl templates were almost identical to Ct levels produced by regular qPCR with DNA purified from a 60 μl cell culture sample (23.42 vs 23.49 average Ct levels, respectively). The optimized direct qPCR protocol was successfully applied to monitor the elimination of Mycoplasma contamination from U937 cell cultures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number720
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2019



  • Direct
  • Elimination
  • Mycoplasma
  • PCR
  • qPCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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