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I am growing cell cultures at the moment, and I sometimes find 1-2 of these elongated, black structures in one of my 8 wells. Should I be concerned?

I have been growing these for about 5 days at this point, replacing the media every the other day. I figure that the life-cycle of mold is pretty fast, and that if it were truly mold that it would overpopulate the well pretty quickly. Perhaps it's just debris?

Potential Mold Second potential mold

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  • $\begingroup$ They could be pieces of tissue paper. Do these "things" grow after a while? Cell debris is generally smaller than the cells. Is there a picture with the cells in focus? $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG May 8 '19 at 13:04
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Most of the time you can find shards of plastic, defects in the plate and other non-cellular debris in brightfield that look suspicious. Even some cellular debris can look suspicious, like when your viability is really poor. That doesn't look like anything to me. You'd know if you had contamination because it would be in more than 1 field, you'd have more than 1-2 of them, and your culture would either change in color, turbidity or smell. If it's a plate defect, you probably wont see it move if you re-suspend the well, either.

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I know this thread is over a year old, but I found myself referring to this thread just this week (6.24.20) for help so I thought I'd post my experience in case anyone else is looking at this these days! I'm growing rabbit corneal epithelial cells and the original passage looked great the whole way through, I passaged about a week after plating, and 3 days into passage 1 contaminants EXACTLY like the ones in OP's photos began popping up. At first it was just a couple in one plate, but after a couple more days all 3 of my plates were covered. I knew it wasn't a live contaminant because the cells remained healthy and it didn't move, grow, or change; but still more and more showed up. After 5 days of this, I finally noticed that the contamination was worst around the ledge/rim on the bottom of the plate; which didn't make sense because why would a rim on the outside of the plate affect debris on the inside... and that's when I finally wiped down the entire outside/bottom of the plates with ethanol and sure enough all contamination was instantly gone. So, if you've come here because you're seeing weird things in your plate, do yourself a favor and start by wiping down the outside/bottoms of your plate first. Might save you a lot of grief!

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the info, future readers will appreciate it. $\endgroup$ – Polypipe Wrangler Jun 24 at 21:34
  • $\begingroup$ It would be best if you could show us some pictures of your own observations. As of now, there is nothing in your post that the community can use to validate your answer. Ideally, every answer should contain scientific references, or at least some sources or links to credible web pages. In this case, I understand personal experience can be valuable to share, but then the minimal thing to add are some images. Cheers. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Jun 25 at 11:35

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