So the last time I was plagued, it turned out that my pipettes needed cleaning. Evidently, filter tips are completely useless. Having learned that lesson in spades, I've been keeping them clean, obsessively. I also take other, more common, precautions to keep my work clean and contaminant free.
However, these last few days have seen the contamination come back and bring some of its friends, as well. Cantankerous bastards. I got fed up and performed a series of small assays to attempt to isolate the source of contamination (this time) so I could bust that sucker to hell...
After days of contamination, every single one of my assays turned up clean this morning. Every single one. I can not even wrap my brain around this crap. Several of them saw the use of the same reagents, tools, cell stock EVERYTHING as yesterday...and today it is free of contamination!!! WHAT THE HELL???
So let's review shall we? The contamination is not in my media, the cell stock, my pipettes, my antibiotics, my containers...it's no-where!!! What does that leave me? Mysteriously vanishing contamination. It's either in the air or, somedays, I am spitting in my cell culture. Barring amnesia, that latter is unlikely...so that means that the contamination is in the lab environment.
How the bloody hell am I supposed to protect against that?? Close my eyes and pray to the God of XL1-Blue daily that he/she'll look on my culture in favour?
Maybe I should suck all of the air out of the room. OR maybe I should just give up now and commence spitting in my experiments so that I can know ahead of time that there will, in fact, be contamination!
Honest to God, how do you deal with this??????????? HOW????????