PMFLIST Archives

October 1998


Options: Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Scott Sutton <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
The Pharmaceutical Microbiology Mail List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 6 Oct 1998 12:13:38 GMT
text/plain (68 lines)

I think the critical thing here is the fact that they have been
isolated only out of serum.  You didn't mention the nature of the
biopharmaceutical company - if they were making vaccines, then this
may be a concern.  There is no evidence that they can even suvive in
pharmaceutical, aqueous formulations.

The authors also assert that the organisms are resistant to heat
disinfection (although I was unable to find their data).

I am somewhat suprised that field inspectors are asking about this


On Tue, 6 Oct 1998 07:38:39 -0400, you wrote:

>Scott Sutton recently posted a request for information about
>'Nanobacteria'. Yesterday, I received a call for information from a
>colleague at a local, licensed biopharmaceutical company in which he told
>me that FDA had just questioned him about this 'genus' which he'd never
>heard of. I did a 'Yahoo' search and there are a number of URLs listed in
>addition to the PNAS reference which Jerry Masover provided. I thought I'd
>provide a short summary of what I learned:
>Nanobacteria are coccoid bacteria (Nanobacterium sanguineum gen. et. sp.
>nov.)which were isolated from sterile, commercial FBS by a research group
>at the University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland around 1996. They can pass
>0.1 uM filters although they have cell walls and are highly heat-resistant.
>They were not culturable in standard microbiological media but could be
>cultured under cell culture conditions (with or without mammalian cells,
>5-10% CO2). Multiplication could be prevented by gamma irradiation and high
>doses of aminoglycoside antibiotics and other agents.  They have been
>isolated from more than 80% of commercial FBS and newborn bovine sera and
>are the most common contaminant present in cell cultures. It is postulated
>that this may be the reason why only about 10% of FBS batches support cell
>cloning. They are cytotoxic to mammalian cell culture in high
>concentrations relative to the mammalian cells by triggering cells that are
>normally phagocytic to engulf them. "These organisms seem to be one of the
>causes for cell vacuolization, poor thriving and unexpected cell lysis,
>problems not rarely encountered in mammalian cell culture and often
>attributed to cell senescense." They are not detectable with present
>sterilty testing methods. The organisms have been found in both human and
>cow blood. The authors have suggested an association between these
>organisms and the formation of kidney stones.

Scott Sutton, PhD                    [log in to unmask]
The Microbiology Network   
The Virtual Library: Microbiology

The PMFList ( is operated from
The Microbiology Network ( and supported by
our sponsors ( as a service to
the scientific community.