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Mold Contamination

Molds are eukaryotic microorganisms in the kingdom of Fungi that grow as multicellular filaments called hyphae.  A connected network of these multicellular filaments contain genetically identical nuclei, and are referred to as a colony or mycelium. 

Similar to yeast contamination, the pH of the culture remains stable in the initial stages of contamination, then rapidly increases as the culture become more heavily infected and becomes turbid.  Under microscopy, the mycelia usually appear as thin, wisp-like filaments, and sometimes as denser clumps of spores.  Spores of many mold species can survive extremely harsh and inhospitable environments in their dormant stage, only to become activated when they encounter suitable growth conditions.

Virus Contamination

Viruses are microscopic infectious agents that take over the host cells machinery to reproduce.  Their extremely small size makes them very difficult to detect in culture, and to remove them from reagents used in cell culture laboratories.  Because most viruses have very stringent requirements for their host, they usually do not adversely effect cell cultures from species other than their host.  However, using virally infected cell cultures can present a serious health hazard to the laboratory personnel, especially if human or primate cells are cultured in the laboratory.

Viral infection of cell cultures can be detected by electron microscopy, immunostaining with a panel of antibodies, ELISA assays, or PCR with appropriate viral primers.