Preventing Contamination from Pipettes

Preventing Contamination from Pipettes

Studies have found that mycoplasmas contamination is in many cell lines tested.

Mycoplasma is a very common bacterial contaminator in cell culture labs. Studies have found that mycoplasmas contamination is in many cell lines tested. They’re even shown to contaminate liquid nitrogen storage tanks where cell stocks are stored. They are resistant to most commonly used antibiotics and can’t be detected under a light microscope since they lack a cell wall and are very small. This increases the risk of failing to find mycoplasma contamination in your lab.

Pipettes are the most frequently used tools in a laboratory and therefore are prone to contamination. Contaminated pipettes could cross-contaminate cell cultures and samples. Consistent cleaning of pipettes is crucial for contamination control. A few pipettes are fully autoclavable or have parts that can be autoclaved. Wrong pipetting techniques can also cause cross-contamination. Therefore, an ergonomic pipette and the proper pipetting technique are essential to stop mycoplasma contamination and help ensure clean samples and successful experiments. Read on to learn more about pipette contamination and how to prevent it!

Autoclaving Pipettes Eliminates Mycoplasma

Unlike any mechanical non-autoclavable pipettes, fully autoclave Tacta pipettes can be thoroughly decontaminated of any mycoplasma. Autoclaving is the only way to ensure that your pipette’s surface is entirely decontaminated of any infectious mycoplasma.

Autoclaving or Ethanol Don’t Remove Mycoplasma DNA

Neither autoclaving nor 70% ethanol removes mycoplasma DNA. Samples taken from each pipette, except the pipette that wasn’t contaminated, were positive for mycoplasma when it was analyzed with RT-qPCR.

Pipette and Pipetting Techniques Matter

Bad pipette techniques, in particular in combination with mechanical pipettes with stiff plungers, increase the risk for possible cross-contamination. Sartorius Tacta pipettes have soft plungers, preventing the retraction of contaminated droplets into pipettes. Compared to other manufacturers’ pipettes, cross-contamination wasn’t observed with any Tacta pipettes.


Pipettes are possible sources of mycoplasma contamination, as mycoplasmas can survive for about 24 hours on a surface. Autoclaving eliminates infectious contaminations. Sartorius Tacta pipettes can be fully  autoclaved, which reduces the risk of contaminating cell cultures. However, we suggest sodium hypochlorite solution or PCR clean wipes remove mycoplasma DNA from the pipette. Also, proper pipetting techniques and pipettes with soft plungers like Sartorius Tacta are essential for preventing contamination and the spread of pesky mycoplasma.


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This entry was posted on Friday, December 9th, 2022 at 11:20 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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