Proliferation of psychrotrophic bacteria in cold-stored platelet concentrates

Sandra Ramirez-Arcos*, Dilini Kumaran, Andrew Cap, Kristin Michelle Cardenas, Marc Cloutier, Justin Ferdin, Ute Gravemann, Patrick Ketter, Patricia Landry, Thea Lu, Truscha Niekerk, Joel Parker, Claudia Renke, Axel Seltsam, Bianca Stafford, Susanne Süssner, Tanja Vollmer, Susann Zilkenat, Carl McDonald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objectives: Platelet concentrates (PC) are stored at 20–24°C to maintain platelet functionality, which may promote growth of contaminant bacteria. Alternatively, cold storage of PC limits bacterial growth; however, data related to proliferation of psychotrophic species in cold-stored PC (CSP) are scarce, which is addressed in this study. Materials and Methods: Eight laboratories participated in this study with a pool/split approach. Two split PC units were spiked with ~25 colony forming units (CFU)/PC of Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Serratia liquefaciens, Pseudomonas fluorescens and Listeria monocytogenes. One unit was stored under agitation at 20–24°C/7 days while the second was stored at 1–6°C/no agitation for 21 days. PC were sampled periodically to determine bacterial loads. Five laboratories repeated the study with PC inoculated with lyophilized inocula (~30 CFU/mL) of S. aureus and K. pneumoniae. Results: All species proliferated in PC stored at 20–24°C, reaching concentrations of ≤109 CFU/mL by day 7. Psychrotrophic P. fluorescens and S. liquefaciens proliferated in CSP to ~106 CFU/mL and ~105 CFU/mL on days 10 and 17 of storage, respectively, followed by L. monocytogenes, which reached ~102 CFU/mL on day 21. S. aureus and K. pneumoniae did not grow in CSP. Conclusion: Psychrotrophic bacteria, which are relatively rare contaminants in PC, proliferated in CSP, with P. fluorescens reaching clinically significant levels (≥105 CFU/mL) before day 14 of storage. Cold storage reduces bacterial risk of PC to levels comparable with RBC units. Safety of CSP could be further improved by implementing bacterial detection systems or pathogen reduction technologies if storage is beyond 10 days.

Original languageEnglish
JournalVox Sanguinis
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • bacterial contamination of platelet concentrates
  • bacterial growth in platelet concentrates
  • cold-stored platelet concentrates
  • platelet concentrates


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