Methods and Analysis of Biological Contaminants in the Biomanufacturing Industry

Mohammad Janghorban, Sara Kazemi, Rigel Tormon, Philippa Ngaju, Richa Pandey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The advent of bioprocessing has revolutionized the biomanufacturing industry, leading to the rise of biotherapeutics derived from biologic products such as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells used for targeted cancer treatment and the Vero cell line for the production of viral vectors and vaccines. Despite these promising developments, most biologic products are characterized by fragile macromolecular structures that are heterogenous with a purity profile that varies with each batch making them susceptible to microorganism contamination. Regulatory oversight of biologic products is imperative to ensure adherence to good manufacturing practices and compliance with quality management systems. Current quality assurance protocols during production include monoclonality during cell line development, real-time monitoring of process parameters, flow cytometry for microbial monitoring, polymerase chain reaction, and immunoassay techniques to amplify DNA sequences related to bacterial or biological contaminants. FDA guidance recommends the implementation of process analytical technology within biomanufacturing production to measure critical quality parameters, which includes screening for potential biological contamination. Future advancements in bioprocess monitoring and control should capitalize on providing cheap, real-time, and sensitive detection. Biosensors, mass spectrometry, and polymerase chain reaction present robust, rapid, and real-time capabilities for multiplexed detection of contaminant analytes and have shown promise in meeting these needs. This review discusses the main biological contaminants of bioprocesses, European Union and FDA regulatory guidelines for monitoring and control within biologics production, existing methods and their limitations, and future advancements for biological contamination detection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number298
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • analytical testing
  • biological contaminants
  • biomanufacturing
  • biosensors


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