New Zealand FBS: Mycoplasma bovis
New Zealand plans to slaughter 150,000 cows as it tries to eradicate a strain of disease-causing Mycoplasma bovis bacteria. The bacteria was found for the first time in New Zealand in 2017 and can cause cows to develop mastitis, pneumonia, arthritis and other diseases.
The impacts on the use and the production of FBS are severe:
The presence of Mycoplasma bovis bacteria in cell culture in the lab or in biotech production is a huge issue. Equipment is almost impossible to clean and production losses are significant. Therefore additional treatments, such as gamma-irradiation or heat-inactivation would be necessary to salvage the safety of use. A thorough testing of each batch is required as well.
This necessary measures result in price increases for New Zealand FBS. Another reason to look for a xeno-free FBS replacement, such as human Platelet Lysate.