Efficient inactivation of viruses and mycoplasma in animal sera using UVC irradiation

Dev Biol Stand. 1999:99:111-8.


Transmission of viruses by animal sera represents a considerable risk for humans and animals particularly when the serum is used for the production of pharmaceutical products such as vaccines. Procedures applicable for inactivating large numbers of different viruses, both enveloped and non-enveloped, are therefore mandatory. For this purpose we have developed and validated UVC irradiation as the virus-inactivation procedure of choice for serum to be used in an industrial setting. Spiking experiments in foetal calf serum (FCS) were performed by independent contract laboratories and revealed constantly high clearance rates for various viruses such as bovine parvovirus, parainfluenza type III virus, bovine diarrhoea virus, foot-and-mouth disease virus and different forms of mycoplasmas. UVC-treated sera maintained their growth-promoting activities for various cell types (MRC-5, Vero, CHO). Conventional growth curves generated in the presence of 10% and 1% UVC-treated FCS differed only slightly from controls, indicating the lack of significant damage during UVC exposure. Experiments using a sensitive photometric-based acid phosphatase assay (APA), which correlates well with the more tedious cell counting procedure, confirmed these findings even in the presence of minimal serum requirements. UVC treatment of animal sera appears advantageous compared to currently recommended inactivation procedures, such as Gamma irradiation, for at least three reasons: (i) it possesses a high inactivation capacity for parvoviruses, a pathogen that cannot be destroyed easily by conventional methods; (ii) it causes no noticeable impairment in cell growth and (iii) it can be performed in a controlled manner at the production site.

MeSH terms

  • Acid Phosphatase / analysis
  • Animals
  • Biological Products / standards*
  • Blood / microbiology*
  • Blood / virology*
  • Cattle
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Culture Media / pharmacology
  • Culture Media / radiation effects
  • DNA / radiation effects
  • Diarrhea Viruses, Bovine Viral / growth & development
  • Diarrhea Viruses, Bovine Viral / radiation effects*
  • Mycoplasma / growth & development
  • Mycoplasma / radiation effects*
  • Nitrophenols
  • Parvovirus / growth & development
  • Parvovirus / radiation effects
  • Photochemistry
  • Pyrimidines / chemistry
  • Swine
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Vero Cells / cytology
  • Vero Cells / enzymology


  • Biological Products
  • Culture Media
  • Nitrophenols
  • Pyrimidines
  • DNA
  • Acid Phosphatase
  • pyrimidine
  • 4-nitrophenol