USP Sample Preparation Comparison

By Jason Kircos

Many companies use in house laboratories and perform using USP methodology. In these cases, when it comes to preparing their own media and reagents, the lab needs to pay special attention to USP because the quality of the results depends on the quality of the culture media prepared. This includes accurate weighing of dehydrated components, the use of high quality (USP purified) water, completely dissolving the dehydrated media or individual ingredients, and the need to control the heating of the media to avoid damaging heat-labile components of the media. The quality control of each batch of the media is a critical concern. However, a major issue with microbiological testing is the hidden costs in labor and inventory hold time.

The BioLumix system simplifies the testing due to the pre-made vials that do not require a technician to run quality control on the vial.

Sample preparation for the USP to BioLumix is very similar, so the transition for most laboratories is very simple. The benefit that is gained is the time it takes to get results and the ease of processing samples.

One example for sample processing is Yeast and Mold, which shows the advantage of the BioLumix system. Both the USP and BioLumix sample preparations start with a 10 gram sample into 90ml of either Butterfields Buffer or Fluid Soybean-Casein Digest Medium (TSB). The sample is then tested for pH to make sure it is the optimal range (6.0-8.0). From this point the BioLumix system shows how much easier and efficient an automated system is over the traditional methodology.

For the BioLumix system, the sample is then added to the vial, the information is added to the system, the sample starts running and 48 hours later, the data is archived and completed.

Now, compare that to the traditional USP methodology. First is the need to melt the agar used to pour the plates, and the time it takes to allow the media to temper down to an appropriate temperature that does not damage any possible organisms in the product. Then you must take the sample and pipette it onto the plate, and then pour the tempered media on the plate. Next, comes swirling the media and sample to evenly distribute it throughout the plate. Finally, then use must allow it to solidify and then place in the incubator for 5-7 days. Once the incubation is complete, read the plate and record the results.

The BioLumix system gives the result in 48 hours and automatically tells the customer if it is above or below the specification level. While the traditional USP methodology needs to wait 5-7 days before results are complete.

Many other assays that use the BioLumix system reduce the time to get results much quicker than USP. For example, total aerobic count which instead of 2-3 days using traditional USP methodology, is less than 24 hours on the BioLumix system.  E. coli testing takes three days using USP methodology but only two days using the BioLumix system.

The BioLumix System is a system that fits the needs of the supplement industry in terms of speed, working with all product matrices, and automatically documenting the results in real-time, thereby reducing the labor requirement for microbiological testing.

The BioLumix system was extensively validated for dietary products and compared to the methodology described in USP <2021> and <2022>.  The validation methodology followed USP <1223> “Validation of Alternative Microbiological Methods”.  This included performance criteria such as: side-by-side comparison to the USP methodology, accuracy and precision, specificity, limits of detection and quantification, along with ruggedness and robustness, reproducibility of the results, false positivity rate and false negative rate.

For more information, click here.

The Complete BioLumix Experience! Simplified, Rapid, Automated BioLumix System: Microbiology Testing Simplified

Come to Booth #16091 @ Supply Side West 2014 and Learn More
SupplySide West ExpoThe implementation of cGMP for all manufacturers (large and small) of dietary supplements and Nutraceutical products means that all manufacturers must test their products for microbiology quality assurance and generate a Certificate of Analysis for each batch. Products must be tested in accordance with the methods described in USP <2021> and <2022>.  This includes testing for Total Aerobic Microbial Count, Total Combined Yeast and Mold, Bile-Tolerant-Gram-Negative bacteria, and objectionable organisms (absent in 10 grams of organisms such as Salmonella, E. coli, and sometimes S. aureus). To do these tests companies either send product samples to contract laboratories for microbiological testing or test them internally.

Internal testing of products for microbiology gives the manufacturer much more control over the operation, but some manufacturers are hesitant to bring the microbiology testing in-house for fear of the complexity of testing or the need for trained microbiologist(s).  Also daunting is the need for a full validation package which is required for any method that deviates from the USP methodology. Here’s the good news – BioLumix offers a solution that gives faster time to results, quicker product release, cost effective operation, and strengthens key profit drivers.   This is all achieved on a single platform that is easy to use, validated to USP requirements, and doesn’t require additional skilled personnel.

At BioLumix, we don’t just offer you a simplified, rapid, automated microbiology system… we provide the Complete BioLumix Experience!

What is the Complete BioLumix Experience?  It’s having, from initial contact to the completion of the installation and beyond, our commitment to providing unparalleled support and total customer satisfaction.
SupplySide West Expo show floor

 

In 2006, Ruth & Gideon Eden established BioLumix, Inc.  Today, because of their extensive backgrounds in science and technology combined with customer-oriented sales and support staff, we have raised the simplification, automation and speed of microbiology testing to a new level.

  • Needs Assessment - Whether you contact us direct or through our website you can count on our sales team to respond quickly.  The focus is on your needs and goals.  Our BioLumix Technology Presentation provides an in depth look into how and why our system will work for you.  In addition, we can quickly and easily show you the value and the ROI the system will bring to your company.

 

  • Expertise – Knowing how the BioLumix system will work with your samples gives you peace of mind.  That’s why we test samples – YOUR samples – for you at our laboratory in Ann Arbor, MI.  We do this for you at no cost and at no obligation!  Once completed, expect a comprehensive report from one of our expert microbiologists. That same microbiologist spends two and a half days on-site for training and installation of the system.

 

  • Validation – If you are concerned about validation, here is more good news.  We provide complete SOPs along with a customized Validation book which includes Installation Qualification (IQ), Operations Qualification (OQ) and Performance Qualification (PQ).

 

  • Simplicity and Ease-of-Use-  The easy to master BioLumix system offers a new level of productivity.  Sample preparation takes less than 2 minutes; just add the sample to the diluent and mix.  Pipette the appropriate amount into the vial and place it into the instrument and record the sample and assay information into the computer.  The rest is totally automated.  The Certificates of Analysis will automatically be generated in as little as 24-48 hours!

 

  • Support – Our jobs center on satisfying our customers and providing unparalleled support.  At BioLumix you receive 24/7 support plus a microbiologist dedicated to service you and answer your questions.  What happens if you encounter a problem? Troubleshooting can be done via the internet and in most cases problems are resolved.   If needed we provide a loaner instrument while your instrument is being fixed to minimize downtime.  Our website provides instant access to information and resources about our technology, instruments, assays, and more.  It’s also mobile-enabled to format to your handheld devices.  Links to social media, white papers, blogs, videos, and other informative contact information puts everything you need at your fingertips.

 

  • Continuous Product Improvement – At BioLumix we have an ongoing commitment to evolving and adding to our platform.   One way this is achieved is through our partnership with our customers.  Customer feedback, along with a desire to increase the breadth and depth of our offerings, helps us to make improvements to our media and our assays.  We have recently introduced two new assays – Listeria and Bacillus cereus.

 

With a simplified method such as the BioLumix System we can provide a simple cost effective method to test products for microbiology. Come visit our booth (# 16091) and take the first step into your own personal BioLumix Experience.  This year the show is being held at the beautiful Mandalay Bay Convention Resort, in Las Vegas, October 8th and 9th.

Why is it important to test Pet Food for microbiology?

Pet Food microbiologyThe pet food industry is nearly a $22.2 Billion dollar a year industry and projected to almost double by the year 2017.  Nearly 101 million homes have at least one pet in the household, and there are nearly 170 million cats and dogs owned in the United States alone.  New trends in pet food are emerging as consumers want to give their pets the freshest food possible and make sure that it is healthier for them as well.  In the past few years there have been multiple outbreaks related to pet food affecting the health of both pets and humans.  Most people associate Salmonella as a bacterium linked to food borne illness in people food, but in recent years there have been quite a few outbreaks of Salmonella in pet food that has also affected humans.  The most concerning aspect is that it primarily caused illness in small children.

Several recalls of pet food due to Salmonella happened in the recent past as shown in the examples that follows. On February 5, 2014 – Pro-Pet LLC, has initiated a voluntary recall of a limited number of Dry Dog and Cat Foods for possible Salmonella contamination. A single field test indicated products manufactured during a two-day period, on a single production line might have the potential for Salmonella contamination1.  On January 25, 2014 – PMI Nutrition, LLC (PMI), has initiated a voluntary recall of its 20 lb. bags of Red Flannel® Cat Formula cat food for possible Salmonella contamination2. On November 4, 2013 – Bailey’s Choice LLC, had recalled its 5 oz. packages of chicken treats because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems3.

The CDC also added an information page on keeping people and pet healthy and safe from Salmonella4.  There was also a pet food recall based on an aflatoxin contamination.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) categorizes aflatoxin as a naturally occurring fungal toxin that contaminates maize and other types of crops during production, harvest storage or processing5.  The aflatoxin outbreak was linked to the death of over a hundred pets.  In the past year Kroger stores recalled a wide variety of pet foods due to a possible contamination caused by aflatoxin4.

Microbiology Testing of Pet Foods

Why test for indicator organisms? It is more effective to test for indicator organisms rather than to test for pathogens such as Salmonella.  Indicator organisms are used to measure potential fecal contamination of environmental samples. The presence of coliform bacteria, such as E. coli, is a common indicator of fecal contamination. Indicator organisms are typically used to demonstrate the potential presence or absence of groups of pathogens. The use of indicators is attractive because it reduces the complexity and cost of analyzing. Indicator bacteria are selected for the following reasons:

1) They are initially abundant in the matrix to be assayed.

2) A relatively rapid, accurate, and cost effective analytical method for enumerating the indicator exists or can be readily developed.

3) A reasonably strong correlation exists between the presence/absence of the indicator and a particular pathogen or group of pathogens. The strength of the correlation will determine the effectiveness and accuracy of the indicator as a measure of pathogen occurrence.

4) Indicator organisms can be used to pet food manufacturing to cleanliness and sanitary issues within the facility.

Assays Performed on pet foods: in pet food, testing is conducted for Enterobacteriaceae or fecal coliform as indicator of fecal contamination and yeast and mold as indicators for general quality and aflaxoins.

What are the advantages of the BioLumix system?

The system serves, as a platform to perform all required assays- using the BioLumix system will allow the pet food manufacturers to test their products not only for Salmonella and yeast/molds, but also for indicator organisms such as coliforms, fecal coliforms, Enterobacteriaceae and more.

Saving time- The BioLumix system can save time when testing pet food products for Yeast and Mold, instead of taking five days using traditional plates, the BioLumix system will give the same results in under 48 hours.  This can help the manufacturers to avoid a potential aflatoxin contamination by knowing if their product contains any amount of mold.

Economical cost of assays: Instead of running an MPN assay, which will require up to 5 days of testing as well as 9 tubes of LTB and up to 9 tubes of EC Media to wait for confirmation of a positive fecal coliform, the BioLumix system requires less than 24 hours and a single vial.  Finally, the last confirmation step is to streak the positive EC Media to L-EMB agar plates; the BioLumix system instead requires one test vial and 1ml of the sample in order to detect a level as low at <10 cfu/gram, and can give results in under 24 hours.  Similarly, the Enterobacteriaceae test in BioLumix requires one vial instead of multiple MPN tubes required by the European method.

Screening Products: BioLumix Rapid Microbiology Testing can also be helpful in screening products to determine what the next steps are.  Some manufacturers sample the product from the line and test for total aerobic count. If the level is below a certain number, then the product can be sent out to the market, if it is above the specification level then it has to go through a special sterilization procedure which costs more money as well as a delay in the product reaching the customer.

BioLumix Pet Food Study

BioLumix originally conducted a study of different store bought pet foods, ranging from dry dog food samples to wet (oil based) samples.  All samples matched the results for Yeast/Mold, Enterobacteriaceae, Total Aerobic Count, E. coli and fecal coliforms when comparing between the BioLumix System and traditional plating methods.  The products were processed and tested using FDA-BAM methods7.

Total Aerobic Count: There was 100% agreement between the two methods for all samples tested. Fourteen samples were below the specified level by both methods.  One sample was above the specified level by both methods.  One sample was inoculated to show the ability of the system to detect positive samples.

Yeast and Mold Count: There was 100% agreement between the two methods. Fifteen samples were below the specified level by both methods and two samples were above the specified level by both methods. One samples was inoculated with yeast or mold to show the ability of the system to detect positive samples.

Enterobacteriaceae: There was 100% agreement between the two methods. Thirteen samples were below the specified level by both methods and two samples were above the specified level by both methods.

E. coli: Fifteen products were tested for E. coli at a level of Absence in 10 grams.  There was 100% agreement between the two methods. Fifteen samples were below the specified level by both methods. One sample was inoculated with E. coli and were detected as containing E. coli by both methods

Salmonella: Ten products were tested for Salmonella at a level of Absence in 25 grams.  There was 100% agreement between the two methods. Ten samples were below the specified level by both methods after a confirmation step. One sample was inoculated with Salmonella and was detected as containing Salmonella.

BioLumix has also conducted a study using fresh pet food, which is an emerging product in the marketplace.  The study yielded similar results as the initial BioLumix study, except Lactic Acid Bacteria was also tested.

The BioLumix System showed a high correlation between the instrument results and the BAM methodology.  It simplified the microbiological testing, offers a significant reduction in time to obtain results and reduces hands-on labor due to its automation and simplicity of use.  The time to results for bacteria was hours rather than days while yeast and mold required only 48 hours instead of 5 days.

  1. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm384876.htm
  2. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm374043.htm
  3. http://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonelladrypetfood/
  4. http://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonelladrypetfood/
  5. http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hsb/aflatoxin/
  6. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/kroger-recalls-pet-foods-due-to-possible-health-risk-112125284.htm
  7. http://www.fda.gov/food/foodscienceresearch/laboratorymethods/ucm2006949.htm

BioLumix Exhibits @ SupplySide West 2013 – Stop by Booth # 30038!

SupplySide WestSupplySide West brings together the suppliers and buyers that drive the dietary supplement, food, beverage, animal nutrition, personal care and cosmetic marketplace. Key professionals and thought leaders from executive management, R&D, QA/QC and marketing teams will meet in Las Vegas November 12-16.  The 2013 show floor is the largest yet, featuring over 1,700 booths, please make sure that you visit BioLumix at Booth #30038.

Rapid automated methods, such as the BioLumix System, can speed up time to results from 7-10 days to 1-2 days.  The time saved has a direct impact on many operational profits drivers. . . and is The reason over 450 BioLumix Systems are actively being used by many of the largest manufacturers in the industry.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of the BioLumix Partnership Program:

Ready-to-use vials  with specialized media which do not require QC on your end

Very Fast Results—C of A within 48 hours  for expedited product releases

Simplified, automated microbiology testing

    • Paperless laboratory
    • 60% savings in labor
    • Operated by non-microbiologist

ALL assays available within one automated system

Validated Method in compliance with USP <2021>, <2022>, <2023> and USP <61>   and <62>

Remote access/support for your system via internet and interactive phone calls to facilitate optimal instrument performance

Product reports tailored to specific applications

Dedicated microbiologist assigned to support your    facility

Real-time continuous support for reviewing microbiology assays. . .  and more

BioLumix takes pride in delivering the highest level of customer support for our BioLumix Partners.  Did you know that in a recent customer satisfaction survey, ALL of our customers would recommend us to their vendors, suppliers and customers?

With the BioLumix System, we can help your company internalize microbiology testing.  If you already have an internal laboratory, we can help you save time and money by automating your testing!  Many of our customers have gone through audits and we have received great feedback from them.

biolumix automation drives profitsWe welcome all of our customers to stop by and say hello!  If you are not yet a customer, we welcome the opportunity to work with you.  Our jobs center around satisfying our customers and providing unparalleled support.  We would be happy to give you a demonstration of the system including testing your samples for free.  After all, we wouldn’t want to sell you a product that doesn’t work for you.  Still not convinced?  We would be more than happy to provide you a long list of customer referrals.  Allow us the opportunity to demonstrate the many benefits of the BioLumix Partnership Program.

Dealing with difficult to read plates or manual data transfer is a thing of the past. With automated monitoring of ready-to-use assay vials and automated data processing and archiving (paperless), the microbiologist‘s job got a lot easier with the same accurate results in less than half the time.  Real-time data communication: Early warning of contaminated samples as well as sample release information could be automatically communicated through your intranet, significantly improving your company’s efficiencies.  BioLumix system can be used to test powders, oils, enzymes, botanical material, tablets, capsules, powders and liquids easily and without product interference.

BioLumix trainers will provide each customer with a full and customized Validation book, during the two and a half days of on-site training and installation of the system, including installation qualification, Operation Qualification and Performance qualification.

With this internal automated microbiological system, customers have control over their testing, leading to accurate results and accelerated product release while reducing costs.

The BioLumix Rapid Microbiology System can save multiple days versus current USP testing methods, and dramatically impact key profit drivers, such as elimination of idle time with raw materials, work in progress, and finished goods.

PDA’s 8th Annual Global Conference on Pharmaceutical Microbiology

October 21-24, 2013 | Bethesda North Marriott Hotel | Bethesda, Maryland; Exhibition: October 21-22

PDA’s 8th Annual Global Conference on Pharmaceutical Microbiology brings together all levels of industry professionals to network and benefit from a program that reveals the essential science of microbiology and seeks to solve the problems that the Pharmaceutical industry faces on a daily basis. During the conference, PDA will host an exhibition of leading bio/pharmaceutical companies who will showcase new technologies and trends for pharmaceutical microbiology strategies, providing invaluable sessions dedicated to pharmaceutical microbiology.  Visit the BioLumix booth (#13) to learn about the most advanced rapid microbiological testing system.

advanced rapid microbiological testing system
Rapid Automated USP <61> and <62> on a single Platform
BioLumix Rapid Microbiological System is capable of performing testing equivalent to both USP <61>and <62> simultaneously on a single platform. The novel automated growth-based system simultaneously detects microbial growth, provides an estimation of viable cell counts, and identifies the presence of specified micro-organisms. By encompassing both USP types of testing, the BioLumix is a complete screening solution making the existing microbial testing simpler, faster, and automated – saving your company significant time, labor and money. BioLumix has a DMF on file with the FDA, and the system is easy to validate due to growth based format using traditional USP media.

Adding Speed and Automation to Microbiological Testing – The Automated BioLumix System will accelerate your microbiological testing resulting in faster product release and decreased costs. The streamlined testing design reduces labor, time and supplies. The BioLumix software is 21 CFR Part 11 compliant with log-in, log-out and audit trail. The BioLumix Rapid Microbiology System can save multiple days versus current USP testing methods, and dramatically impact key profit drivers, such as elimination of idle time with raw materials, work in progress, and finished goods. The time saved has a direct impact on many operational profits drivers. . . and is The reason over 400 BioLumix Systems are actively being used by many manufacturers.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of the BioLumix System:

  •  Simplified, automated microbiology testing
  •   Paperless laboratory
  •   60% savings in labor
  •   Real-time continuous support for reviewing microbiology assays.

We welcome all of our customers to stop by and say hello!  If you are not yet a customer, we welcome the opportunity to work with you.  Our jobs center on satisfying our customers and providing unparalleled support.  We would be happy to give you a demonstration of the system including testing your samples for free.  After all, we wouldn’t want to sell you a product that doesn’t work for you.  Still not convinced?  We would be more than happy to provide you a long list of customer referrals.

The Pharmaceutical Industry is Growing; the BioLumix System Can Help Your Lab Grow With it

According to the United States National Institute of Health, there are nearly 140,000 clinical studies currently underway involving potential pharmaceutical products. Pharma is a huge industry, and companies both big and small are investing roughly $50 billion a year to get their products to market.Pharmaceutical Microbiological Testing This fervor spans some 200 countries, and with all this in mind it is no wonder that research has increased by an average of 28% each year since 2000. Still, whenever there are huge sums of money involved, people and companies can be enticed to hastily release their products, and this potential for microbial contamination in pharmaceutical products can have serious and far-reaching repercussions. The goal of the BioLumix Microbiological Testing System is to promote an expedient, automated, and efficient laboratory environment, allowing companies to increase their bottom line and ensuring that only safe products make it to the shelves.

Pharmaceutical microbiology is essential to the quality control process of any drug or supplement. Companies can spend immeasurable sums of time and money during this stage, and current plate count methods are incapable of providing labs with an avenue for advancement. BioLumix Rapid Microbiology Methods offer innovative new testing solutions that are designed specifically for the challenges of the pharmaceutical industry, including a multitude of microbial tests for raw materials, in-process and finished products, as well as the capacity to perform environmental testing. This simplifies, expedites, and reduces the cost of performing microbiological assays.

Biolumix Microbiology SystemThe key to the BioLumix System is its use of patented two-zone vials to monitor changes in a broth medium. At the top of each vial, an incubation zone allows a microbiologist to insert samples for testing, and at the bottom, a reading zone is utilized for the automated monitoring of up to 32 specimens by a single unit. Changes in color or fluorescence, which may be a sign of microbial growth, are expressed as light intensity units, which are detected by the systems optical sensor and recorded in its computer. Sample volumes of up to 2 ml can be used in each vial. Additionally, each vial slot features a dual-color Light Emitting Diode (LED) and a fluorescent tube that covers the full spectrum of colors and ultraviolet light. These two-zone vials eliminate the masking of the optical pathway by the products microbial turbidity, and because changes in color and fluorescence are monitored in the reading zone, results cannot be influenced by the sample or any of the microorganisms.

A few of the applications of the BioLumix System include total counts, yeast and mold, Bile tolerant gram negatives, and objectionable organisms. Results are easy to interpret and can be automatically transmitted to other locations, such as a company warehouse, to rapidly ship safe products. Perhaps one of the most convenient aspects of the BioLumix System is the fact that it can be easily operated non-microbiologists. This lessens the amount of tedious work for skilled lab-technicians, and allows them to shift their focus to higher value tasks.

In short, the BioLumix System allows pharmaceutical companies to perform as many tests as are needed to maintain a safe and beneficial product, without sacrificing time or money. Instead, for a one-time investment in BioLumix rapid microbiological method technology, your lab will be able to expedite its quality control process and decrease its overhead, allowing your company to expand in the growing market.  The BioLumix rapid microbiology system will allow for increase capacity, logistical improvements and better efficiencies.

Recently Dr. Miller presented a web seminar about a case study of the implementation of the BioLumix system.  To listen to this seminar click on the link http://cnpg.comparenetworks.com/144579-Implementation-of-New-RMM-BioLumix-Case-Study/

Who Needs Environmental Monitoring and Process Water Testing?

Introduction

Controlling manufacturing environmental conditions is not only a regulatory requirement but also part of protecting and producing a quality product. Environmental monitoring (EM) of manufacturing facilities provides assurance that the environment is both adequately controlled and in compliance. There is substantial evidence establishing a direct relationship between the level of environmental control and the final quality of the product.

EM serves a critical role in product safety by ensuring that the environment in maintained properly. Swabs are often used for sampling irregular or hard-to-reach surfaces and critical surfaces where contact plates are not practical. In addition, cleaning hold-time studies are often performed using swabs. In general, the purpose of a Microbial EM Program is to: provide crucial information on the quality of the work environment during manufacturing; prevent future microbial contamination by detecting and reacting to adverse trends; prevent the release of a potentially contaminated batch if the appropriate standards are not fulfilled; prevent the risk of contamination of the product; ensure there are environmental controls in the production areas; and provide a profile of the microbial cleanliness of the manufacturing environment.

Current Methodology

Most EM is done by plate counting of colonies which is both simple and inexpensive. However, plate counting methods are slow requiring two to seven days to complete, thereby causing a delay in the detection of contamination, which can increase product loss, plant downtime and result in expensive clean up. The delay in obtaining results impacts reaction to contamination issues and can make investigations very difficult. For example, the rooms in question typically have been cleaned numerous times, so re- sampling results are almost always meaningless and determining the root cause of the contamination is difficult. Since real-time response is not possible, batches are jeopardized.

The plate count methodology is also labor intensive and requires manual data entry and documentation. Such documentation is prone to human errors and compliance issues.

Available RMM Methods


Methods are available to measure total particles in the air, including Total Organic Carbon (TOC), and ATP (Adenosine Tri-phosphate). These methods are very fast to perform but do not correlate well with total bacterial count or any specific group of organisms and do not measure viable organisms (Carrick et. al. 2001 and Easter 2010). Therefore, these results do not measure viable organisms in the environment or on production lines. The standard plating methodologies can take several days. Rapid microbiological methods (RMM) can provide rapid and efficient solutions over traditional plating methodologies. Therefore, both manufacturers and regulators are motivated to develop initiatives and help in the implementation of rapid testing methods (FDA 2004).

On June 8th the conference on Contamination Control ( http://www.pdamidwest.org/) the data from the validation of BioLumix growth based system for EM and water testing will be presented. The BioLumix Optical System is based upon the detection of microorganisms due to color or fluorescence changes caused by the growth and metabolic activity of microorganism in the test vials.

Study Design: 10×10 cm surface coupons made out of 5 various materials (Stainless Steel, Aluminum Alloy, High Density Polyethylene, Silicone Rubber, and Perspex, Plexiglas) were inoculated with different organisms (Bacillus spizizenii var subtilis ; Escherichia coli; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Staphylococcus aureus; Citrobacter freundii; Candida albicans; and A. brasiliensis formerly Aspergillis niger). The coupons were then swabbed and testing using three assays: (i) Total aerobic count; (ii) Yeast and Molds and (iii) Gram Negative Bile Tolerant Bacteria.

In total, 550 coupons were tested, 290 coupons were inoculated above the specified levels while 260 coupons had counts below the specified levels. There was very good correlation between the BioLumix results and the plate count results, with an overall agreement for samples above spec of 97.2%. None of the 260 un-inoculated coupons detected in the BioLumix system or had plate counts above the specified level. Consequently there was 100% agreement between the two methods. The overall agreement between the two methods was 98.5%.

Total Aerobic Count: A total of 129 swabs were analyzed using the BioLumix TAC vial and the standard plate count method with TSA. All the swabs with count above specified level signaled as being above the specified level in the vials. Five marginal samples detected in the vials and had counts just below the specified level. The agreement between the methods was 96.1%.

Yeast and Molds: A total of 85 coupons were analyzed using the BioLumix YM vial and the standard plate count method with SDA (Sabouraud Dextrose Agar W/ Chloramphenicol). All the swabs with count above specified level signaled as being above the specified level in the vials. A few coupons with count very close to the specified level (e. g. 50-80 cfu/swab for a specified level of < 50 cfu/swab) did detect in the vials. One coupon that had a count of 40 cfu/swab, while technically found to be below the specified level, was a very marginal result being so close to the specified level of 50 cfu/swab, did detect in the vial. The agreement between the two methods was 98.8%.

Gram Negative Bile Tolerant Bacteria: A total of 75 coupons were analyzed using the BioLumix ENT vial and the standard plate count method with VRBGA (Violet Red Bile Glucose Agar). One swab with a marginal count of 310 cfu/swab did not detect in the vial. A few coupons with count very close to the specified level (e. g.300-400 cfu/swab for a specified level of < 300 cfu/swab) did detect in the vials. One coupon that had a count of 190 cfu/swab did detect in the vial. The agreement between the two methods was 97.3%.

Conclusion: The BioLumix system was validated as an alternative to the plate count method for EM. The study involved a total of 550 surface coupons representing five diverse types of surface material. These five surfaces represent those encountered in manufacturing, including metal, plastics and rubber. Some of the coupons were inoculated with bacteria or yeast or mold. There was 100 % agreement between BioLumix assay and the plate count assay for the 260 coupons that were determined to be below the specified level by the plate count method. There was an overall agreement of 97.2 % between the two methods when swabs containing counts above the specified level were used.

The advantages offered by the BioLumix system include: automation of results, great speed to results, paperless EM, direct detection of viable microorganisms, detection of multiple types of organisms, increased operation efficiency and consequently an improvement in product quality, reduction in costs, and both enhanced reporting and ability to track trends.

Water Testing

Water is widely used as a raw material, ingredient, and a solvent in the processing, formulation, and manufacture of pharmaceutical products, active pharmaceutical ingredients and intermediates. As such, all water purification systems must be monitored regularly to verify the quality of the water produced. Monitoring of water for microbiological quality may include testing for total heterotrophic plate count, coliforms/E. coli, or by checking for the presence of other organisms suspected to be present in a water sample. The relevant standards relating to pharmaceutical grade water are USP <1231> Water for Pharmaceutical purposes.

The BioLumix system is capable of testing water for heterotrophic bacteria, coliforms, E. coli, and Pseudomonas. For levels of < 1 cfu/ml the water can be inserted directly into the vial. To test for levels such as < 1/100 ml the water is filtered and then the filter is added directly to the vial.

Water study summary: Ninety- two water samples were analyzed with two specified levels (10 cfu/ ml and 100 cfu/ml). Sixty samples were below the specified level by both methods while 28 samples were above the specified level by both methods. Four samples were below the specified level by the BioLumix method, but above by the plate count method. All these samples had very low counts (1-3 colonies on the plate). There was 96.9% agreement between the two methods.

BioLumix advantage for water testing: Final results were seen in the BioLumix system roughly 13 hours earlier than the plate count method using Standard Methods Agar. The BioLumix method can detect organisms at a level of < 1 cfu/mL of water. The BioLumix system is faster, less labor-intensive, and more sensitive than the plate count method.

REFERENCES:

Carrick, K, Barney M, Navarro, A. and Ryder D. (2001). The Comparison of Four Bioluminometers and Their Swab Kits for Instant Hygiene Monitoring and Detection of Microorganisms in the Brewery. J. Institute of Brewing 107, 32-37

Easter M. (2010) A comparison of commercial ATP hygiene monitoring systems. Next Generation Food issue 9, 2010

PDA Midwest Chapter- June 8, 2012 – All Day Contamination Control Event (http:// www.pdamidwest.org/)

United States Pharmacopeia XXI (1985) Chapter <1231> Water for Pharmaceutical Purposes. The National Formulary. Rockville, MD, The United States Pharmaceopeial Convention.

Rapid Microbiological Testing of Capsules, Softgels and Pills Encapsulation of Pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceutical products may be encapsulated in a relatively stable shell for oral consumption.  These shells are called capsules and can either be hard-shelled or soft-shelled.  Hard-shell capsules are commonly filled with dry powdered ingredients, pellets, or granules.  Soft-shell capsules (softgels) are made from gelatin and primarily contain oils or active ingredients that are dissolved or suspended in oil.  Both hard and soft-shell capsules may contain colorants, dyes, opaquing, dispersing, or hardening agents, and preservatives.  Tablets are solid doses of medicinal substances and may be soluble effervescent, chewable, molded, or compressed.

Traditional methods for testing

Plate count methodology as described in USP <61> is regularly used to test capsules and tablets.  Using this methodology, it takes two days for Aerobic Count results, and five days for Yeast and Mold results.  When testing for objectionable organisms, it may take several days using selective broths or agars to determine the absence or presence of these bacteria.   The colors of the shells and the products and the viscosity of the 1:10 dilution sometimes interfere with the reading of the plates.

Rapid Detection with the BioLumix System

The BioLumix System simplifies testing, expedites time to results, reduces the testing cost and accelerates product release while providing better control of microbial contamination.  The system can be used to automate microbial testing with a more cost effective and streamline manner, and reduces the error rates produced by paper-based activity recording and batch data entry.  The BioLumix system also helps automate microbiological quality control processes.

To validate the equivalency of the BioLumix system to USP <61> or USP <2021>, over 100 types of capsules, softgels, and tablets were tested with the BioLumix system and plate count methodology at various specified levels.  The products were tested for total aerobic microbial count (TAMC), Total yeast and mold count (TYMC), and the absence of E. coli, P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, and Salmonella (objectionable organisms) in 10 grams of product.  For each assay, a 1:10 dilution was created by adding 10 grams of product to 90 mL of TSB and further dilutions were performed depending on the desired specified level.  Some of the samples were inoculated with various bacteria.


Figure 1 shows the BioLumix curves obtained for the Total Aerobic assay.  The purple curve represents an inoculated colored capsule.  All the curves along the baseline represent different kind of capsules that were not contaminated.


Figure 2 shows the BioLumix curves for the Yeast and Mold assay.  The dark blue curve represents an inoculated product. All the curves along the baseline represent different kind of capsules that were not contaminated.

 

As seen in Figure 3, the BioLumix vial design is separated into two zones: the incubation zone where the sample is present and the detection zone where the reading takes place.  Therefore, the system prevents any product interference.

Figure 3 shows two vials that contained dissolved blue capsules.  The sample on the right contained bacteria while the sample on the left was clean.

Final results are seen in the BioLumix system roughly 25-40 hours faster than the plate count method in the Total Aerobic Count assay and 40-72 hours faster in the Yeast and Mold assay.

When testing for objectionable organisms, results may be obtained several days sooner than the plate count method.  Following the BioLumix protocol, 0.1 mL of the incubated sample in TSB is added to a selective vial and data is collected in the BioLumix instrument for 18-24 hours, depending on the assay.  If detection occurs, the sample may be verified with a confirmation assay.  This procedure eliminates hours or days waiting for plate results.

The BioLumix system is faster, less labor-intensive, and more sensitive than the plate count method.  With an automated certificate of analysis generated within 48 hours, the time-to-results is reduced and allows for quick release of products.

Caron Ockerman

References:

USP <61> MICROBIOLOGICAL EXAMINATION OF NONSTERILE PRODUCTS: MICROBIAL ENUMERATION TESTS

USP <2021> MICROBIAL ENUMERATION TESTS—NUTRITIONAL AND DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS

USP <2022> MICROBIOLOGICAL PROCEDURES FOR ABSENCE OF SPECIFIED MICROORGANISMS—NUTRITIONAL AND DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS 

Pet Food and Microbiology

Why is it important to test Pet Food for microbiology?

In the past few years there have been multiple outbreaks related to pet food affecting the health of both pets and humans.  Most people associate Salmonella as a bacterium linked to food borne illness in people food, but in recent years there have been quite a few outbreaks of Salmonella in pet food that has also affected humans.  The most concerning aspect is that it primarily caused illness in small children.  It was not believed to be caused by the children eating the dog food, but having interactions with the dog.  After it was discovered that the outbreak was caused by tainted dog food, over 23,000 tons of pet food was recalled, and when the outbreak continued, the plant that produced the tainted dog food was closed down.  There was also a pet food recall based on an aflatoxin contamination.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) categorizes aflatoxin as a naturally occurring fungal toxin that contaminates maize and other types of crops during production, harvest storage or processing1.  The aflatoxin outbreak was linked to the death of over a hundred pets.  In the past year Kroger stores recalled a wide variety of pet foods due to a possible contamination caused by aflatoxin2.

However, it is more effective to test for indicator organisms rather than to test for pathogens such as Salmonella.  Indicator organisms are used to measure potential fecal contamination of environmental samples. The presence of coliform bacteria, such as E. coli, is a common indicator of fecal contamination. Indicator organisms are typically used to demonstrate the potential presence or absence of groups of pathogens. The use of indicators is attractive because it reduces the complexity and cost of analyzing

Indicator microbes are generally selected for the following reasons:

1) They are initially abundant in the matrix to be assayed.

2) A relatively rapid, accurate, and cost effective analytical method for enumerating the indicator exists or can be readily developed.

3) A reasonably strong correlation exists between the presence/absence of the indicator and a particular pathogen or group of pathogens. The strength of the correlation will determine the effectiveness and accuracy of the indicator as a measure of pathogen occurrence.

In pet food testing is conducted for Enterobacteriaceae or fecal coliform as indicator of fecal contamination and yeast and mold as indicators for general quality and aflaxoins.

What are the advantages of the BioLumix system?

Using the BioLumix system will allow the customers to test their products not only for Salmonella and yeast/molds, but also for indicator organisms such as coliforms, fecal coliforms, Enterobacteriaceae and more.  Indicator organisms can be used to pet food manufacturing to cleanliness and sanitary issues within the facility.  Also the presence of the organisms can affect appearance, taste and texture of the pet food.  The BioLumix system can save time when testing pet food products for Yeast and Mold, instead of taking five days using traditional plates, the BioLumix system will give the same results in under 48 hours.  This can help the manufacturers to avoid a potential aflatoxin contamination by knowing if their product contains any amount of mold.  Detecting fecal coliforms is even faster and saves even more money using the BioLumix system.  Instead of running an MPN assay which will require up to 5 days of testing as well as 9 tubes of LTB and up to 9 tubes of EC Media to wait for confirmation of a positive fecal coliform.  Finally, the last confirmation step is to streak the positive EC Media to L-EMB agar plates; the BioLumix system instead requires one test vial and 1ml of the sample in order to detect a level as low at <10 cfu/gram, and can give results in under 24 hours.  Similarly, the Enterobacteriaceae test in BioLumix requires one vial instead of multiple MPN tubes required by the European method.

BioLumix Pet Food Study

BioLumix recently conducted a study of different store bought pet foods, ranging from dry dog food samples to wet (oil based) samples.  All samples matched the results for Yeast/Mold, Enterobacteriaceae, Total Aerobic Count, E. coli and fecal coliforms when comparing between the BioLumix System and traditional plating methods.  Since there are no specifications by AAFO or FDA for indicator organisms in pet foods the levels tested for Enterobacteriaceae were based on European standards for pet food.   The products were processed and tested using FDA-BAM methods3.  Only one sample came up positive for fecal coliforms, results of the BioLumix vial matched the MPN results.  Two of the samples had counts >10 cfu/g for Enterobacteriaceae and were the only ones that were above the specification level of cfu’s of the manufacturer. 

The BioLumix system detects optical changes in the test vial, presenting results of the assays as soon as detections occur with no need for involvement of an operator or a microbiologist, providing significant savings on laboratory labor. Any out-of-spec samples are flagged in red, demanding attention. The greater the contamination level, the faster the result, ensuring a rapid warning of poor-quality raw materials, finished products or any equipment line issues.

The BioLumix System showed a high correlation between the instrument results and the BAM methodology.  It simplified the microbiological testing, offers a significant reduction in time to obtain results and reduces hands-on labor due to its automation and simplicity of use.  The time to results for bacteria was hours rather than days while yeast and mold required only 48 hours instead of 5 days. 

  1.  http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/hsb/aflatoxin/
  2. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/kroger-recalls-pet-foods-due-to-possible-health-risk-112125284.html
  3. http://www.fda.gov/Food/ScienceResearch/LaboratoryMethods/BacteriologicalAnalyticalManualBAM/default.htm

A Rapid+Easy Method for Microbiological Testing of Dietary Supplements Complying w/cGMP & USP

Nutraceutical and dietary supplements consist of vitamin and mineral supplements, amino acids, herbs, essential oils, enzymes, homeopathic remedies and other natural products. For years dietary supplements have been unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In 1994 the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) was enacted, which stated that dietary supplement manufacturers must ensure supplements’ safety before marketing them.1

In 2007 the FDA issued the final rule for the implementation of current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) for supplements. 2 The FDA 21 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 111 required the implementation for large manufacturers in June 2008 and that by June 2010 all dietary supplement manufacturers test their products for identity, purity, contaminants and microbiology quality assurance, like pharmaceutical companies do. 3

To meet these new requirements, dietary supplement manufacturers must test their products for microbiology quality assurance and generate a certificate of analysis for each batch. To do this they either send product samples to contract laboratories for USP microbiological testing or test them internally. To reduce the time to get results, increase efficiency and reduce expenses, BioLumix offers a fast, automated, cost effective way for nutritional and dietary supplement companies to perform USP microbiological testing. The BioLumix system is an in-house method to easily perform accurate and automated microbiology quality assurance assays on finished products, in-process and raw materials and environmental work surfaces. This system can cut quarantine time for microbial testing from 5-6 days to 35-48 hours.

Samples are placed in ready-to-use, disposable vials inserted into an instrument that determine the microbial quality of the product. The system can perform all FDA-required tests such as total aerobic count, yeast and mold count, Enterobacterial count, and objectionable organisms such as E. coli, S. aureus, Salmonella and P. aeruginosa. The BioLumix testing system also includes a step-by-step process to optimize the installation, operation and performance so that it is easy for nutraceutical and dietary supplement manufacturers to do microbiology quality assurance.

The BioLumix testing system allows for faster sample preparation plus provides automated real-time communication, fast product release and early warning of contamination via USP microbiological testing. Because the BioLumix system is automated and its software generates the results, it is not necessary to have an employee dedicated solely to running the microbiology quality assurance tests. This makes the BioLumix system a cost-effective way for dietary supplement manufacturers to meet the new FDA cGMP requirements for microbiological testing. For more information on the BioLumix cGMP USP microbiological testing system, visit http://www.mybiolumix.com or call 1-734-984-3100.

References

1. Dietary supplements. FDA Web site. http://www.fda.gov/food/dietarysupplements/default.htm.

2. FDA Issues Dietary Supplements Final Rule. FDA Web site.

http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2007/NEW01657.html

3. FDA 21 CFR part 111. FDA Web site.

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=111&showFR=1FDA

Karen F. Vieira, Ph.D.