It is not always possible to prevent the growth of microorganisms in organ culture for cornea preservation, despite many prophylactic measures. It is especially difficult to prove the presence of fungi in the cultural medium.
Materials and methods: A culture medium was examined for sterility after 8 days' storage of cornea in organ culture. To prove the presence of fungi a culture of Sabouraud 2% glucose-agar was prepared and its growth examined by light microscopy.
Results: After 8 days of preservation we noticed a color change in the cultural medium and suspected contamination with fungi. Coagulase-negative Staphylococci could be cultivated from the conjunctival smear obtained before preparation of the cornea only. Routine screening of microbiological contamination did not show any results. We were able to identify an Aspergillus species only after preparing a special culture. The conjunctival smear as well as the cultural medium of the other eye of the same donor showed no contamination.
Conclusions: In spite of the fact that microbiological contamination can be seen macroscopically, it is difficult to prove the presence of a specific microorganism and even more so when dealing with fungus. Especially in these cases the incubation of the cornea in media might have an advantage because contamination can be suspected by just looking at the medium. By excluding these preparations from transplantation we can possibly prevent infections, even when routine examinations show negative results.