ISPE Glossary of Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Terminology

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The smallest, free-living organism with a size range from 1.25µm to 0.5µm. Pleomorphic (many shapes) because of a lack of a cell wall. Cannot be quantitatively removed by 0.2µm filtration.


A family of bacteria (prokaryotic microorganisms), Mycoplasmataceae, possessing no cell walls (and therefore resistant to many antibiotics) and needing sterols for maintenance and growth. Frequent contaminants of animal cell cultures, they may grow attached or close to cell surfaces, subtly altering properties of the cells, but escaping detection unless specifically monitored.

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