Biodecontamination of a tissue culture laboratory after a fungal infection

The approach looked at the laboratory as a whole along with its processes

A multinational pharmaceutical facility with a large R&D presence in the UK contacted Bioquell after a persistent fungal infection was affecting tissue culture samples within a laboratory.

Experience has shown that performing a biodecontamination cycle is just once facet of eradicating an endemic problem and as such a Bioquell specialist visited the site prior to the deployment. Working with both the laboratory management and users a complete decontamination approach was developed.

The approach looked at the laboratory as a whole along with its processes. Recommendations made included revised housekeeping procedures, and minor refurbishment works to increase the biosecurity of the area, as well as steps to maximise the efficacy of the bio-decontamination process.

The laboratory ramped down activities in the run up to the deployment, running down stocks of reagents and consumables to minimise occluded surfaces and was then subject to a rigorous surface clean, removing all gross contamination. All equipment was configured to optimise the airflow and maximise exposed surface areas. The lab equipment was able to remain in place(including safety cabinets and incubators) thus undergoing the biodecontamination process.

The RBDS team deployed and the 250m3 laboratory suite was fully treated within five hours. Throughout the gassing cycle the safety cabinets were left running, as were circulation fans in the incubators, bio-decontaminating all internal surfaces and filters. The HPV process was verified using biological indicators and the infection has not returned.

Chris Langley, RBDS Lifesciences Specialist said: 'HPV has excellent, wide spectrum efficacy against mould, viral, bacterial and mycoplasma – the typical cell culture contaminants – but will not act alone as a "silver bullet". Careful consideration needs to be given to the process flow as a whole to maximise the cycle efficacy and prevent immediate recontamination.'