Neogen acquires BioLumix

neogen_earnings_blog Neogen Corporation (NASDAQ: NEOG) announced today that, effective Sept. 30, it has acquired all the outstanding stock of BioLumix, Inc., an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based manufacturer and marketer of automated systems for the detection of microbial contaminants.

The BioLumix business will be consolidated with Neogen’s closely related Soleris® technology, which is widely used for the detection of spoilage organisms in several food industries, as well as the nutraceutical market. The Soleris system was the first in the industry used for the detection of microbial contamination based upon an innovative application of well-accepted classical microbiology.

“Combining of the Soleris and BioLumix technologies, market bases, and outstanding technical staffs will greatly enhance both businesses and offer significant labor saving rapid solutions for the food, pharmaceutical, and personal care businesses,” said James Herbert, Neogen’s chief executive officer and chairman. “The combination also settles litigation of seven years between the two companies, and benefits existing customers of both companies moving forward.”

The BioLumix test platform includes an instrument where test vials are incubated and automatically read for results, and an automatic system to alert users to sample results. The basic unit accommodates 32 different test vials at a time and can be combined in modules to accommodate up to 1,000 different samples simultaneously.

Test vials are the consumable portion of the platform and contain growth media and indicators for a number of different microorganisms. A sample is simply added to the vial, and the vial inserted into the instrument. BioLumix currently has 19 different microorganism tests. Specialized software shows test results as soon as detections occur, and avoids the need for involvement from a hands-on operator. The software also creates and maintains all the necessary audit trails to comply with various government regulations.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

For the full press release, click here.

Microbiology in Social Media

Web-related information about microbiology is plentiful. There are a variety of social media resources available to a microbiologist, from scientific information, to   opportunities to benchmark practices, obtain training opportunities, and to keep current with the latest news and developments in virtually any area of interest .All it takes is a little research and an open mind.

Available Information Sources

microbiology newsNews and Company Sites

In recent years, there have been more and more websites dedicated to microbiology on the Internet. There are also sites dedicated to providing news, as well as, websites dedicated to providing microbiology supplies.

A few examples of major sites containing information and news related specifically to microbiology are:

American Society for Microbiology

ScienceDaily – Microbiology News

The Scientist

The Independent

microbiology newsBioLumix News and Information:

The BioLumix website is updated frequently with information about the technology, new development and current events.  Click on the icon to connect to BioLumix website

Blogs

Blogs can be viewed as online journals that are created by individuals, groups, or companies.  Blogs has exploded in recent years due to the ease of blogging and the multitude of hosting services available.   The growth of the blogosphere has become so pervasive that some question the viability of print magazines.

Many blogs, of interest to a microbiologist, are published frequently and may well serve to replace printed publications in terms of timely information. Below are a few examples:

Small Things Considered

Microbiology Network Blog

Pharmaceutical Microbiology

The RMM Blog

MicrobiologyBytes

microbiology blogBioLumix Blog:

BioLumix posts bi-weekly blogs on a variety of topics in rapid microbiology, about regulations, and about the BioLumix technology. To stay current on our new developments click on the icon to connect to BioLumix blog.

microbiology emailE Mail discussion Groups

Email discussion groups are created to encourage discussion around a unifying topic.  Users subscribe to the group. The basic mechanism is to have a central Email address to which all mails are sent.  If a subscriber has a question or comment it is sent by Email to that address.  The email is then resent to all of the participants.  If one (or more) participant wishes to comment on the Email, that reply is then sent to the central address for redistribution and the cycle repeats.

The Email discussion group is the oldest form of social media participation. There are two Email discussion groups of use to the microbiologist – the PMFList and the PSDGList.   Both focus on Pharmaceutical production and validation.

Social Channels

microbiology linkedinLinkedIn:

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social network and it provides a variety of opportunities to connect with other microbiologists and join discussions. LinkedIn also supports the formation of interest groups, and many people use the groups on LinkedIn as a kind of think tank or open brainstorming session.  Others use it to disseminate information.   It is an essential business resource of information, LinkedIn can help you stay up-to-date with industry trends and share information with others who do similar work to you.  Many companies have a company page on LinkedIn.

Examples of relevant discussion groups:

Rapid Microbiology Testing and Methods

Rapid Microbiology

Microbiology Professionals

Food Microbiology- HACCP

Pharmaceutical Microbiology

BioLumix on LinkedIn:

BioLumix at LinkedinBioLumix has a company page on LinkedIn that contains relevant information about the products as well as corporate news. To view our LinkedIn page click on the icon. BioLumix Linked In page:

 

BioLumix linkedin group

BioLumix also sponsors the discussion group Rapid Microbiology Testing and Methods.  To join the group and read the content of this informative group click on the icon. Rapid Microbiology Testing and Methods

BioLumix on facebook
Facebook:

BioLumix at facebookFacebook defines social media today and is more of a pure social media, than it is used for personal purposes. However, in recent years it started serving also in the promotion of companies and services.  Many companies have Company Pages that can promote their service or products with information and special offers.

BioLumix on Facebook: To view the BioLumix Facebook page click on the icon.

BioLumix at TwitterTwitter:

Twitter is a messaging service that allows users to post short (140 character) “Tweets” to their followers.  Its main use is not in science, but it can offer a good way to rapidly disseminate information.   Many Companies and organizations are using this service to get information out quickly and to direct people to web-based information sources. The very brevity of the tweet format can encourage concise expression of ideas and concepts.

A few examples:

MicrobeWorld

Microbiologybites

SfaMicrobiology

MicrobiologyNet

BioLumix at TwitterBioLumix on Twitter:

To view the BioLumix Twitter page click on the icon.

Google +

Google Plus was established in the beginning of 2013 and is currently the second largest social network in the world.  It was launched by Google, in order to evolve the way we relate to one another, and how we communicate with the world. At the moment its presence in the microbiology world is limited, but with the Google power behind it is expected to be a major source of information in the near future. Some companies have Google+ pages.

BioLumix at Google+BioLumix on Google+:

To view the BioLumix Google+ page click on the icon.

BioLumix at YouTubeYouTube:

YouTube is a video sharing service. Video provides an excellent opportunity to explain and teach scientific concepts.  In the current impatient, busy world, many people would prefer to watch a video instead of trying to digest massive pieces of written information. Since more consumers are spending time online instead of watching TV, the popularity of watching videos online is growing exponentially.

A few examples are:

Microbiology video library

Microbeworld Video

BioLumix at YouTubeBioLumix on YouTube:

BioLumix has posted many videos on-line explaining the technology and dealing with a variety of topics of interest to microbiologist. To view the BioLumix YouTube videos click on the icon.

Usage Survey

A year ago Scott Sutton and the Microbiology Network conducted a survey of the use of social media by microbiologists in a few regulated industries.  There has been a significant increase in the use of social media by scientists and microbiologists as these sources provide an opportunities to keep current with the latest in news and developments in virtually any area of interest to the microbiologist.

Social Media Survey ResultsThis survey was conducted online, with a group that is part of an internet email group. It must therefore be assumed that the respondents are more technologically sophisticated than is the norm, and had familiarity with social media on its side.

The survey looked at two main questions – What social media are being used and what is it used for?

As shown in the figure, LinkedIn was the most popular social media used by microbiologists, followed by Facebook.  The main reason for using the social media was for personal interest, followed by Benchmarking.  This survey also shows that once a technology matures (for example the PMFList and the PSDGList Email discussion groups) participation becomes enthusiastic.

Conclusions

The internet and social media offer a wealth of information and capabilities to the microbiologist; it seems as if more microbiologists can take advantage of the opportunities presented.  BioLumix participates in many of the forms of social media and offers a wealth of information to microbiologists

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.

RAPID MICROBIOLOGY METHOD BENEFIT BOTH LAB SERVICE PROVIDER AND MANUFACTURERS

 

 

Manufacturers of Nutraceutical, Pharmaceuticals, Cosmetics, Dairy, and other products are often faced with the challenge of putting their products in the hands of consumers as quickly and efficiently as possible, while at the same time ensuring the quality and safety of their products.  Many of these companies rely on the services of third party laboratories or contract packaging companies to provide timely, accurate microbiology testing of their products and their ingredients.  As a result, organizations who provide these types of services may wish to update their labs with Rapid Microbiology Method (RMM) equipment.  By adding the BioLumix RMM to their laboratories, lab service providers can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to provide their customers the quality results they need to move forward with their products.

Internalizing microbiology testing: offering speed and automation

WePackItAll®(WPIA) is a leading contract packaging and service company, combining their customers’ products with their packaging technology and resources to provide customized and affordable solutions.
WPIA are experts in all types of packaging, including: Packets, Gummies, Multi-Packs, Tubes, Stick-Packs, Blisters, Powders, Liquids, Tablets, High-Speed Bottling and more.

Lab Quality Assurance“WPIA is honored to be celebrating our 40th year in business, serving the dietary supplement, nutrition, food and health/beauty industries, and we are so thankful for the many people and business partners that have contributed to our success over the years.  I have the great pleasure of working with an amazing group of professionals every day and without a doubt, they are the biggest reason WPIA has been so successful over the years.” says Dave Hoover, COO.

In the beginning of 2013 WPIA launched its in?house laboratory, offering microbiological testing services to meet testing requirements and serve the needs of their partners. WPIA chose the validated BioLumix system for their microbiological testing.

We recently interviewed Suren Zatikyan, Quality Assurance Lab Analyst, and Kristopher Flores, Quality Manager.

BIOLUMIX: Why did you decide to add the BioLumix system to your lab?

SUREN: 
The reason we decided to get this system is that it helps us provide our customers with the best service.  Because we are a contract packaging company, we need a finished product testing schedule and quick microbiology results that will prove that we have a clean operating environment in our facility and ensure product safety when the product reaches the consumer.  That was our primary goal when looking at microbiology instruments.

BIOLUMIX: What were some of the things that impressed you the most about the BioLumix system?

BioLumix VialsSUREN: When we found out about BioLumix, we discovered it gave us the opportunity to generate results in a very short period of time.  In addition, validation studies that were performed by BioLumix, and later on by us, proved that the system itself is compatible with all the standard methods used by USP and other standard methods developed for microbiology labs.  We use the BioLumix system to perform some of our environmental testing and monitoring programs, which is very helpful to us.

BIOLUMIX: What has been your experience while working with BioLumix?

SUREN: We were very pleased with the explanation given to us on how the system works, both in terms of capabilities and which tests can be performed.  The tests available were the most important assays that we needed such as Salmonella, E. coli, Staph, Yeast & Mold, and Total Aerobic Count.  These are tests used on a daily basis.  Jason Kircos, a BioLumix microbiologist, was very helpful during the initial 2 1/2 days of training and later on – whenever we needed any information regarding specification values and the use of the software.  We had an issue with the computer hard drive, and the technical team was very helpful.  Not only did they provide good technical support, but they also sent us brand new replacement computer.

BIOLUMIX: What else would you like to add?

SUREN:  We occasionally have some false positive results, due to the sample we are working with, such as samples with high counts because of their botanical nature.  Some organisms can be closely related to what we test for.  We have our own protocols in place when we see positives and have confirmation tests.  We can also use third party labs for identification, as needed.  There haven’t been any real issues with the system that we were not able to resolve quickly.  There’s never been any major issue which caused us to stop processing and troubleshoot because the system was unreliable.

BIOLUMIX: Were there any marketing strategies for promoting your services with the BioLumix system?

Absolutely.  Because BioLumix is more or less an all-in-one package, and given the timeframe it takes to package a product, we really do not have to increase lead times for micro testing.  That is definitely a selling point.  We placed some information about BioLumix on our website, and also created brochures to promote rapid microbiology in conjunction with some of the other quality systems at WPIA.  This is a value-add for our customers.

BIOLUMIX: Did you see any measurable increase in your overall business?

KRISTOPHER: While it is difficult to quantify the impact in that manner, it certainly plays a part in our overall offering to our customers and with our compliance requirements.  I deal with all of the customer audits and having finished-product testing capabilities as it relates to microbiology is a selling point.  To measure it would be a little tougher to do.

SUREN: Whenever you can add into the conversation that we can perform these tests, it’s a selling point.

KRISTOPHER: Our larger customers require it as part of their day-to-day release process.  If the BioLumix system wasn’t in place, it would be tougher to support their needs.  In some instances, based on our testing and our customers’ testing, we’ve been able to validate our processes in-house and eliminate third party validation.  That makes an impact on the bigger picture for our customers.

SUREN:  Sometimes our customers ask if specific counts (CFU) can be generated whenever specifications are given.  However, once we explain the method used most of them are satisfied that BioLumix is not a number-specific CFU “count.”  Validation BookWe create the specification based on specific values and if the test result is below spec then it passes.  If it’s above, then it fails.

BIOLUMIX: Audits – how has the BioLumix system held up under scrutiny during any audits you may have had?

KRISTOPHER: It has certainly been under scrutiny, but the validation package that was prepared at the start definitely goes a long way and satisfies any curiosity when it relates to our customers.  We have also had the local California Food & Drug branch here a few times and they checked the system,finding no inconsistencies.

SUREN: The Validation Book is very thoroughly prepared.  IQ, OQ, PQ validations, the prior testing by BioLumix, and our own validation shows equivalence with the USP methodology.  Everything was very well done and documented.

KRISTOPHER: When I get larger more experienced customers that come to WPIA with very developed systems and very experienced personnel, they take a look and they are thoroughly impressed.  In some instances there are some questions, but they’re resolved on the spot.

BIOLUMIX: Would you say your customers are satisfied?

KRISTOPHER: Absolutely.  Continuously, our customers tend to move more toward this type of testing compared to what they have been accustomed to in the past.  The reductionin time to get results with this system makes the difference.

SUREN: In general, I would say we are quite satisfied with the BioLumix system.  The duration of the tests are very short compared to other methods.  We are capable of delivering products that are safe and we have peace of mind when we perform our tests.  Overall, we have a very successful operation and a cost-efficient system when compared to other options.

_____________________________________________________________________

Kristopher Flores has been the Quality Manager at WePackItAll since 2012.  Prior to that, he was with various other contract manufacturing facilities in aerospace and nutraceutical.  Kristopher has extensive knowledge in Quality Assurance, Regulatory Affairs, and Project Management.

Suren Zatikyan has been a Quality Assurance Analyst at WePackItAll since 2012. Graduated from Cal. State University of Northridge (CSUN) with B.A. in Biology. At CSUN was part of undergraduate cancer research program. Prior to WePackItAll, worked in Michelson Laboratories. 

Water testing- Heterotrophic bacteria, coliforms and E. coli- Why and how to test

Water Quality

Water QualityWater is used in a variety of different industries as well as products within various industries, including Nutraceutical and Dietary Supplement, Pharmaceutical, cosmetics, toiletry industries.  Water can be used as a product ingredient, for example, to create the capsules that contain the supplement.  In the manufacture of the capsules many companies use their own water to create and encapsulate their products.   Water is also used for the cleaning of certain equipment and contact surfaces.

According to USP 1231, although there are no absolute microbial standards for water (other than water intended to be sterile), the CGMP regulations require the establishment of appropriate specifications. The specification must take into account the intended use of the water; i.e., water used to formulate a product should contain no organisms capable of growing in the product. Action or alert limits should be established based upon validation data and must be set low enough to signal significant changes from normal operating conditions.

Control of the microbiological quality of water is important for many of its uses. All packaged forms of water are required to be sterile because some of their intended uses require this for health and safety reasons. The needed microbial specification for a given bulk water depends upon its use. Some applications may require even more careful microbial control to avoid the proliferation of microorganisms ubiquitous to water during the purification, storage, and distribution.

To ensure adherence to certain minimal microbiological quality standards, water used in the production of drug substances or as source or feed water for the preparation of the various types of purified waters must meet the requirements of the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (NPDWR) (40 CFR 141) issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the drinking water regulations of the European Union or Japan, or the WHO drinking water guidelines. Microbiological requirements of drinking water ensure the absence of coliforms, which, if determined to be of fecal origin, may indicate the potential presence of other potentially pathogenic microorganisms and viruses of fecal origin. Meeting these microbiological requirements does not rule out the presence of other microorganisms, which could be considered undesirable if found in a drug substance or formulated product.

USP<1115> deals with bioburden of non-sterile drug substances and products, and the chapter states that the biggest manufacturing risk is water as an ingredient.  Process water is the single most important risk factor contributing to the contamination of nonsterile products.  The purified waters that are used in manufacturing are deionized and do not contain chlorine that helps control microbial growth.  Purified water is capable of supporting growth of gram negative rod shaped bacteria and many different molds.

Water TestingThe FDA also covers a wide range of different types of water that can be used for pharmaceutical uses and describes different sources for water contamination.  The FDA even states that microbial contamination of oral liquids and topical drug products are a significant problem that is usually caused by contaminated water.  Due to the potential health risks involved with the use of contaminated water, particular attention should be paid to the deionized (DI) water systems, especially at smaller manufacturers.

Chlorinated water may be appropriate for early stage cleaning and sanitization activities, but the uses are risky and should only be used on a case by case basis.  Microbial enumeration is an integral component of a water monitoring system to assess the microbial quality of the water.  Some systems use both high-nutrient (PCA) and low-nutrient (R2A) media to allow the isolation of both heterotrophic organisms and slower growing oligotrophic bacteria.

Water testing is also important when dealing with well water, tap water and even bottled water.  The EPA uses coliform as an indicator of possible fecal contamination.  Coliforms naturally found in the environment, and are usually non-pathogenic, but their presence may indicate fecal coliforms.

The Rapid Automated BioLumix System

BioLumix SystemBioLumix automated; all-in-one microbial testing system is an ideal system for in plant water testing.  The system is fast, simple and cost-effective.  A novel optical system sensing color and fluorescence in ready-to-use vials provides faster results, labor savings, automation, and connectivity. The BioLumix system is capable of testing water for heterotrophic bacteria, total aerobic bacteria, E. coli, coliforms, fecal coliforms and yeast and molds. Using the BioLumix system will quickly determine the microbial quality of the water.

Heterotrophic Vial: This vial can detect organisms requiring low-nutrient media (similar to (R2A) to allow the isolation of both heterotrophic organisms and slower growing oligotrophic bacteria. In a study, over 50 samples of multiple different water types were tested by the BioLumix method and the plate count method side-by-side.  The BioLumix vials were directly inoculated with 0.1 mL of the water sample, or a 1.0 mL of a 1:100 dilution, and a few samples were inoculated with heterotrophic bacteria.  The samples were monitored in the BioLumix instrument for 35 hours.  The results showed that the BioLumix system was roughly 13 hours faster than the plate count method using Stand Methods Agar.  These particular samples were tested at specified levels <10 cfu/ml and <100cfu/ml, but the BioLumix method can detect organisms at levels of <1 cfu/ml of water.

Bottled water for human consumption also needs to be tested for coliforms, which are indicators of possible contamination. The FDA requires either MPN or membrane filtration to check 100 ml of water for any contamination. The MPN method which requires at least nine tubes to perform the test and up to 96 hours of testing; while BioLumix can do the same analysis using just one vial in less than quarter of the time.  The filter method can also be applied using the BioLumix system by filtering the 100ml onto a membrane filter and placing the filter directly into the vial.

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 users to test for coliforms, heterotrophic bacteria, E. coli and Yeast/Mold. The system can be used for water testing as well as for testing raw materials, in process and finished products.

Saving time- The BioLumix system can save time when testing water for Heterotrophic bacteria instead of taking three days using traditional plates, the BioLumix system will give the same results in 35 hours.

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.

References:

http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/Inspections/InspectionGuides/InspectionTechnicalGuides/ucm072925.htm -Water for Pharmaceutical Use

http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodScienceResearch/LaboratoryMethods/ucm064948.htm  Enumeration of Escherichia coli and the Coliform Bacteria

USP <1115> Bioburden Control of Nonsterile Drug Substances and Products

USP <1231> Water Treatment Systems For Industrial & Commercial Use.

PRESERVATIVE EFFICACY TESTING: GUIDELINES TO AN AUTOMATED SIMPLIFIED TESTING SYSTEM

Introduction

The ultimate purpose of the Preservative Efficacy Test (PET) is to determine the effectiveness of the preservative(s) present in a cosmetic, toiletry, or pharmaceutical product.  USP Chapter <51> ANTIMICROBIAL EFFECTIVENESS TESTING describes the type of products to be tested (categories), the specified microorganisms to be used for testing, and the inoculum and log reduction amounts required per category of product.  The product to be tested is inoculated with a high number of bacteria, yeast, and mold, and the reduction in the initial inoculum amount is calculated over a 28 day period.

Current Methodology

Until now, the only way to perform PET was by the plate count method.  Typically, a product is inoculated with a high number of organisms (usually 105 - 107), and after 7, 14, 21, and 28 days, samples of that inoculated product are tested to determine the log reduction that occurred to the organisms when subjected to the preservative system.  Because it is not known how effective the preservative system is, serial dilutions have to be plated to determine the number of organisms remaining in one gram of product.  As a result every organism require a number of plates, dilution bottles and tips as shown in figure 1.

Advantages of BioLumix Simplified Automated System

The main advantages the customer gains using BioLumix are savings on time, labor, and materialsPreservative Efficacy Test

The BioLumix assay (Figure 2) takes about 75% less hands-on labor as compared to the standard plate count method, and the simplicity of the BioLumix method is unparalleled.  Ease of use, less materials (as seen in comparing Fig1 to Fig2), and less dilution reduces the chance of error.  After inoculation of product with pure cultures, the BioLumix method allows the operator to perform testing in 4 easy steps:

  1. Weigh 1.0 gram of inoculated product to a sterile sample bag.
  2. Add 9.0 mL neutralizing broth and allow to sit for up to 45 minutes.
  3. Add 1.0 mL to the BioLumix vial.
  4. Enter the vial into the BioLumix Instrument and begin the automated testing.

Pre-programmed calibration curves as shown in Figure 3 are used to generate the colony forming unit count per gram of product based on the detection time of the curve.  This eliminates tedious counting of multiple plates and interpretation of results when working with thick or waxy products, or products containing materials that may resemble bacterial or yeast colonies.  The BioLumix method also saves time in obtaining results.  For each day of sampling, BioLumix reduces the time-to-results for bacteria from 48 hours to 24 hours and from 5-7 days for yeasts and mold to 48 hours.  The BioLumix system uses a single vial to replace a number of plates, dilution bottles and pipet tips, thereby reducing disposable costs.calibration curves

Example of Results Obtained

The example, show the results of PET obtained with eye drops with and without benzalkonium chloride.  The results obtained by both the BioLumix system (BL) and the plate count methodology are shown in the two table below.

results obtained by both the BioLumix system (BL) and the plate count methodology

results obtained by both the BioLumix system (BL) and the plate count methodologyThe data by both methods shows that in the product with the inhibitor benzalkonium chloride (Table1) after 7 days all bacteria are reduced by more than 5 log cycles, as are the counts of Candida. It took 14 days for Aspergillus to be reduced by 5 log cycles.

When the product did not contain benzalkonium chloride (Table 2) and as a result was not properly preserved, only P. aeruginosa was reduced by 5 logs after 7 days. E. coli took 14 days to reduce the numbers by 5 logs. The other organism had a very slow reduction over time.  The counts of Aspergillus were reduced by less that 2 log cycles.  The results show that the two methods yield very similar results.

Many other products were tested with the BioLumix PET methodology including scrubs, creams, lotions, Shampoos, hand and facial cleansers to name a few, and equivalency with the plate count methodology and reproducibility of results was demonstrated for all products.

The BioLumix system allows the operator to save time, materials, and money by drastically cutting hands-on labor and time-to-results.  If offers labor reduction by 75-80% of the labor required for the Petri dish method, with much less disposable used, faster time to results and good correlation with current methodology.  It allows for the creation of a paperless laboratory.  The system automation provides automated data achieving, and automated reporting including log reduction calculations.

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

Are You Ready for an FDA Inspection? Surviving the Audit

When it comes to facility audits, tensions run high, even for the most prepared.  When your facility is being audited, the documents used for evaluation come from the Code of Federal Regulations, 21 CFR 111 (Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing, Packaging, Labeling, or Holding Operations for Dietary Supplements).  These documents review specifications, responsibilities to meet those specifications, written procedures, and laboratory operations.  Here, we focus on the microbial aspect of these requirements.

Microbiology Lab Ready for FDAWhat specifications must you establish?

For dietary supplements, specification limits must be set on contaminants that may adulterate (change) or lead to adulteration of the in process or finished batch.  Documentation as to why these specifications will help to ensure contaminants will not lead to adulteration should be in place.  It is your responsibility to ensure the established specifications are met and properly documented.

What steps should be taken to make sure specifications are met?

Appropriate testing should be in place to be sure specifications are within compliance.  You may also rely on a certificate of analysis (C of A) from the supplier of the component that you receive provided you first qualify that supplier’s certificate of analysis through testing.  If you rely on the suppliers C of A, it should include a description of the testing performed, specifications, and actual results of the test.  Periodic auditing of C of A results is required, and should be part of the microbial testing.  To ensure the finished product specifications are met, the in-process procedure should be in place to monitored and make sure that  unanticipated contamination does not occur at any stage.

Requirements for Laboratory Operations

Written procedures (Standard operating Procedures-SOP), for laboratory operations for tests and examination of product must be in place.  Lab operations should ensure that all lab material specifications and dietary supplement specifications are met.  Test methods should be well documented and validated, and sample-collecting plans should also be in place and followed.

Out of Specification Operations

If specifications are not met, a procedure (SOP) must be present and followed to correct for any error made during processing or testing.  A modified method of testing may be necessary.

Microbiology Lab RequirementsThe Validated BioLumix System

BioLumix generates a customized validation book for each of its customers that include:

Installation qualification (IQ):  Identification and validation of the system components; validation of the environmental conditions; electrical requirements; computer qualification; verifying that all installation steps were followed;  and documentation of instrument calibration.

Operational qualification (OQ):  Verifying that the equipment is properly installed, calibrated and is operational.  It includes a unique SOP for all products and assay combinations to be performed on the instrument; software characteristics and the verification that the software is 21 CFR part 11 compliant; verification that all the instrument functions operate as expected; Verification of the instrument temperature accuracy; and training records.

Performance qualification (PQ): is the most extensive part of the BioLumix validation book. It shows equivalency with USP methodology when following USP <1223> “Validation of alternative microbiological methods”.

BioLumix has some quick tips to be sure that your BioLumix system passes inspection without any fuss.

How to Use the BioLumix Validation Book?

Your customized validation book is a major component in your system, just like the instruments and vials themselves.  Make sure the person in charge of validation knows exactly where the validation book is.  Also, be sure that all pages of the book requiring signatures, are signed by the appropriate personnel, and the operator has a good grasp on the meaning of each attachment.  The training log of attachment 9 should show that appropriate training was provided to all operators.  All SOPs used in product testing must also be included in the book.

Side-by-Side Testing

Attachment 16 in the validation book shows your company’s own product testing and the data generated not only with the BioLumix system, but with the USP plate count method as well.  It generally starts with the report that was generated when samples were first sent to BioLumix for testing.  Since then, your company should have added to this data to show continuity between the BioLumix and plate count methods.  Attachment 18 is much more in depth, showing a wide variety of products, vial types, and specification limits.  This data verifies the comparability between the two methods on a broad spectrum.

Vials and Reagents

Make sure that the vials and reagents in use are within their expire dates.  Also be sure the Certificate of Analysis matches the vials.  It may seem like common sense, but when days get busy, some things may be overlooked.  Be sure all reagents are stored at the proper temperature conditions as specified by BioLumix.

Optical Calibration

It is important that your instruments be calibrated optically at least every 6 months, and full temperature and optical calibration be performed annually.  These documents should be held in Attachment 8 of your validation book.  This will show that care was taken to keep the instruments performing at optimal levels.

By following these guidelines, you should be ready for your audit.  As always, BioLumix is just a phone call away with any questions or concerns you or the auditor may have.

It is important for all to know that BioLumix customers pass FDA microbiological audits without any problems.

International Dairy Show 2013

November 3–6, 2013 | McCormick Place | Chicago, Illinois
www.dairyshow.com
BioLumix will exhibit in the International Dairy Show in Chicago, IL, showing how BioLumix can make the microbiological testing simpler, faster, and automated – saving your company time, labor and money and offering a comprehensive range of microbiological tests for raw ingredients and finished products, as well as processing water and environmental testing.

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.

International Dairy Show 2013

International Dairy Show 2013
November 3–6, 2013, McCormick Place • Chicago, Illinois

International Dairy Show 2013The International Dairy Show is back in Chicago and is bigger, and better than ever. Dairy, food and beverage processors will see technology and innovations in formulation, processing, packaging, distribution, food safety, and more. Operations, research, and sales and marketing teams will attend to learn trends, cost-cutting innovations, and ways to deliver more value to your customers. We at BioLumix wanted to take this opportunity to invite you to our exhibit (booth #452) and show you what’s new at BioLumix. We continue to innovate, growing our assay repertoire and capabilities.
BioLumix has developed a simple rapid microbiological method for the detection of various groups of bacteria, yeasts and molds. The system can make the microbiology testing simpler, faster and automated, saving you time, labor and money. BioLumix has a comprehensive range of microbiological tests, including specific vials for Coliforms and Pseudomonas. The system is designed to accelerate product release in a simplified automated approach. Complete coliform test results are obtained within 12 hours with one vial substituting for nine or more MPN (Most Probable Number) test tubes. Yeast and mold results are obtained in 48 hours rather than 5-7 days using plate methods. Many products can be introduced directly into the BioLumix test vial without the need of a dilution step. These include yogurts and sour cream, as well as milks.
Dairy product Testing for Yeast and Mold and Coliform
The yogurt can be directly added (Figure 1) into BioLumix vials to measure growth of Coliforms or Yeast and Molds. Specialized high pH BioLumix vials can also be used for yogurt samples. When a low pH yogurt sample is added to the BioLumix high pH Coliform vial (CC), the pH conditions become near neutral. This ensures the yogurt manufacturer to be able to correctly test for coliforms using a direct (without dilution) sample of product. As much as 1 gram of product can be directly tested in each BioLumix test vial.

A clear advantage of the BioLumix vial is that it can be used on the same work-day to yield data about the status of any contamination in dairy samples and thus enable the manufacturer to make a decision on the acceptability of the lot of product for sale and consumption.

Rapid Detection of Pseudomonads in Dairy Products as an Indicator of Product Shelf-Life The data presented in this study suggested that the BioLumix Pseudomonas vials are capable of early detection of Pseudomonads in dairy products and in process water. The system offered a reduction in time to results as compared to the plate methodology and eliminates any product interference. It allows for rapid assessment of any post processing associated problems.

The BioLumix Advantage
• Vial design prevents product interference
• Automation and connectivity allows faster product release
• Real-time communication for immediate action
• Expedited results: most results in 12-18 hours; Yeast and mold assay in 48 hours
• Automated data archiving and audit trail
• Streamlined testing increases laboratory efficiencies
• Paperless laboratory: centralized test data automatically stored and protected
• Barcode capability for automated sample entry
• Environmental testing made easy

Free Product Trial
Give us your most difficult samples and we will test them for free. We will provide you with a detailed report which includes a side-by-side comparison to your current manual methodology. The data generated is strictly confidential and is only used to show the high correlation of results should your company decide to purchase.

We look forward to working with you and earning another satisfied customer!

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/

Rapid Microbiology Testing of Dairy Products using the BioLumix Instrument

Background

Testing Dairy Products using Rapid Microbiology with the BioLumix InstrumentCommercial Dairy Products need to be tested for microbial contaminants.  Dairy products include: cultured dairy products (kefir, cultured buttermilk, sour cream, and yogurt), cheeses (soft cheese products, semi-hard, hard, and extra hard cheeses), processed cheeses, butters, butter creams, dried milks, and ice creams.

Manufacturers require a simple, cost effective and rapid microbiological method to assess samples for the presence of specific organisms as an indication of the sanitary conditions.  The most common dairy microbiology tests include: Aerobic plate count, Yeast and Molds, Coliforms, and could also include some indicator of cold spoilage such as Pseudomonads.  Rapid and early testing for microorganisms can reduce product quarantine time, allows for faster response to contamination, decreases inventory holding and cold warehouse costs, and aids in prediction of product shelf-life for manufacturers.

Troublesome spoilage microorganisms include aerobic Psychrotrophic bacteria, yeasts, molds, heterofermentative lactobacilli, and spore-forming bacteria (Ledenbach and Marshall 2009).  Psychrotrophic bacteria can produce large amounts of extracellular hydrolytic enzymes, and the extent of recontamination of pasteurized fluid milk products with these bacteria is a major determinant of the milk products shelf life. Fungal spoilage of dairy foods is manifested by the presence of a wide variety of metabolic by-products, causing off-odors and flavors, in addition to visible changes in either color or texture and may also cause gassing.

BioLumix has developed a simple rapid microbiological method for the detection of various groups of bacteria, yeasts and molds.  The system can make the microbiology testing simpler, faster and automated, saving manufacturers time, labor and money. BioLumix has a comprehensive range of microbiological tests, including specific vials for Coliforms and Pseudomonas.  The system is designed to accelerate product release in a simplified automated approach.  Complete coliform test results are obtained within 12 hours with one vial substituting for nine or more MPN (Most Probable Number) test tubes.  Yeast and mold results are obtained in 48 hours rather than 5-7 days using plate methods.  Many products can be introduced directly into the BioLumix test vial without the need of a dilution step.  These include yogurts and sour cream, as well as milks.

BioLumix Applications

Yogurt Testing

Yogurt is a dairy product, which is made by blending fermented milk with various ingredients that provide flavor and color.  Manufacturers have responded to the growth in the yogurt market by introducing many different types of yogurt including low fat and no-fat, creamy, bio-yogurt, organic, baby, and frozen.  BioLumix has developed assay methods for measuring contaminating microorganisms in dairy products.

The yogurt can be directly added (Figure 1) into BioLumix vials to measure growth of Coliforms or Yeast and Molds.  Specialized high pH BioLumix vials can also be used for yogurt samples.  When a low pH yogurt sample is added to the BioLumix high pH Coliform vial (CC), the pH conditions become near neutral.  This ensures the yogurt manufacturer to be able to correctly test for coliforms using a direct (without dilution) sample of product.  As much as 1 gram of product can be directly tested in each BioLumix test vial.

Coliform organisms generally include four key groups of enteric bacteria.  They comprise of the following species: Escherichia, Citrobacter, Klebsiella and Enterobacter.  Each of these organisms can grow in the BioLumix high pH CC vial.  Figure 2 illustrates the growth of a coliform (Citrobacter) in the BioLumix CC vial (green) while the Dark Blue curve shows a clean sample.

A clear advantage of the BioLumix vial is that it can be used on the same work-day to yield data about the status of any contamination in dairy samples and thus enable the manufacturer to make a decision on the acceptability of the lot of product for sale and consumption.

Fermented Dairy Products

Yeast and Mold Testing: An example of the growth of a mold in cream cheese is shown below. Figure 3 illustrates the clean test result, using BioLumix Yeast & Mold vials, for the cream cheese product as shown in the Green curve.  The Dark Blue curve illustrates the growth curve in BioLumix YM vials when cream cheese was inoculated with the mold organism Geotrichum candidum.

Coliforms Testing:Similarly, testing of sour cream showed the lack of Coliforms in the product as illustrated in the Dark Blue curve in Figure 4.  The sour cream product sample was found to have other flora as shown by growth in the BioLumix TAC vial which detected total aerobic bacterial counts.  Thus, the BioLumix high pH CC vial was used to show selectivity for the presence or absence of Coliform organisms.

Rapid Detection of Pseudomonas in Dairy Products as an Indicator of Product Shelf-Life
Pseudomonad organisms are a major cause of bacterial spoilage of pasteurized milk and dairy products due to post process contamination.  Early detection of Pseudomonas in can be a predictor of product shelf-life as it is the predominant psychotropic bacteria present.  BioLumix has developed a rapid method for the detection of Pseudomonads in dairy products; the method is also applicable to detection of Pseudomonads in process water.

The BioLumix system was directly compared to the plate count methodology for milk samples stored at refrigerated temperatures and held overnight at room temperatures and to detected Pseudomonads in process water and other dairy products.

Commercial milk products were used to measure the presence of Pseudomonads during refrigerated and elevated temperature storage.  Pseudomonads were present at varying levels in dairy samples and were detected within 16-24 hours using BioLumix vials.  All process water samples tested were free of Pseudomonads by both methods.  Process water samples inoculated with different Pseudomonads strains were found to detect in the BioLumix system.  The vial were selective enough not allowing for growth of unrelated gram positive and gram negative bacteria, mold or yeast.  The combination of the Pseudomonas vial with overnight pre-incubation could serve as an indicator of shelf-life of products.

The data in this study suggests that the BioLumix Pseudomonas vials are capable of early detection of Pseudomonads in dairy products and in processing water. The system offers a reduction in time to results as compared to the plate methodology and eliminates any product interference.  It allows for rapid assessment of problems associated post processing problems.

BioLumix has developed a vial specific for testing of Pseudomonads that are known to commonly contaminate milk and also survive pasteurization, albeit in low numbers. These Pseudomonads may include P aeruginosa, P fluorescens, P putida, and P stutzeri.  Each of these species of pseudomonas was found to grow readily in the BioLumix PSE-B vials.

Summary

The BioLumix System is designed to accelerate product release with a simplified, automated approach.  This yields fast, accurate, real-time results while reducing costs and eliminates the time required for the assays to be completed.  The system offers real-time results of contaminated samples saving hours, possibly days.  The Coliform or Enterobacteriaceae results can be available within 12 hours; Yeast and Mold results within 48 hours.  Thus the BioLumix system allows for rapid detection of Coliforms and Yeast and mold.  For low coliform numbers, one vial can substitute for 9+ MPN tubes.  BioLumix will streamline and simplify the microbiological procedures, save labor and create a paperless laboratory, while generating results that correlate well with plate count methodology.

Reference
Ledenbach L. H. and R.T. Marshall. 2009 In “Compendium of the Microbiological Spoilage of Foods and Beverages” . Chapter Microbiological Spoilage of Dairy Products.

BioLumix System Saves Valuable Time in Yeast and Mold Testing

Rapid Microbiology Yeast and Mold TestingIf you are a microbiologist, or work in close relation with a laboratory, you probably already know that yeast and mold testing is one of the longest quality control processes. Both the plate count and the membrane filtration techniques used by many microbiology labs often take between 5-7 days to complete, and this ends up costing you and your organization valuable time and money in the mean time. The BioLumix rapid microbiology system is based on cutting edge knowledge of the microbial metabolic process, and is the most versatile method around when it comes to the expedient detection of microorganisms. For the nominal cost of our automated testing systems, your company could shave several days off of their production and distribution time, and secure a catalyst that will increase profits for years to come.

Yeasts and molds constitute a large and diverse group of microscopic foodborne fungi, totaling several hundred different species. One of the main reasons that these organisms are so successful in attacking foods and cosmetics is their versatility, having very broad temperature (5-60 ?C) and acid/alkaline (pH 2-pH 9+) requirements for growth. This means yeast and mold are capable of invading crops, such as those producing grains, nuts, beans, and fruits both before harvesting and during storage, and can also make their way into our processed food. In many cases Yeasts and molds are not immediately visible, however these fungi can cause varying degrees of deterioration and decomposition in products, with the manufacturer only discovering their presence when it’s too late.

Several different kinds of molds and yeasts can be hazardous to humans and animals due to their ability to produce toxic metabolites called mycotoxins. These metabolites are stable compounds, and the performed toxins are usually not destroyed during food processing, or even when cooking at home. Other yeasts and molds can also cause allergic reactions or infections, especially in immunocompromised demographics, such as the elderly, the young, the debilitated, or those undergoing antibiotic and chemotherapy treatment. To make matters worse, yeasts and molds often cause products to spoil after they have left the processing facility, posing potentially a health hazards and product quality issues to the consumers. For this reason, a wide range of industries require that companies test their products for yeast and mold before they go on sale. In a nutshell, the quicker you can produce and quality test products, the quicker you can get your inventory to market, and the more profitable you will be.

This value proposition is the premise upon which our rapid microbiological testing system was founded. The BioLumix system is committed to simplifying, expediting, and reducing the cost of performing microbiological assays so that companies can bolster production with a fraction of their current working capital. Our ready to use vials are capable of detecting yeast and mold in 48 hours, saving 3-5 days when compared to plate count and membrane filtration techniques and keeping more money in your pocket.

optical technology for yeast and mold testingThe keys to our systems celerity are its patented CO­­­2 sensors and optical technology, which continuously monitor growth media in each vial. Because yeasts and molds are obligate aerobes, they must take in oxygen and release Carbon Dioxide (CO­­­2) in order to grow. This cellular respiration is part of the Krebs cycle, and is used by all aerobic organisms to generate energy. When the sensor detects the presence of CO­­­2 it is a sign that microbial growth is present. The optical sensor simultaneously takes readings of the vials at 6 minutes intervals, detecting changes in color, and allowing for rapid detection of growth. Results are easy to interpret and can be automatically transmitted via a multitude of communication channels to its needed location, such as a warehouse or production facility to expedite shipping of a safe product. Our fully automated system can also be operated by a non-microbiologist, reducing labor by up to 60%, and allowing skilled scientists to spend their time in the lab more efficaciously. With less tedious work, microbiologists can turn their attention to higher value tasks, such as interpretation of data and product safety analysis, making your lab far more efficient.

With the BioLumix rapid microbiology system, labs can revolutionize the way that one conducts their quality control process. Our platform makes production times shorter, products safer, and recalls less frequent and far less costly. Adding value and increasing lab productivity with BioLumix will allow your organization to thrive, and will put you in a position to be successful for years to come.  

RMM Implementation – BioLumix Case Study

With modern labs requiring higher levels of efficiency and lower investment of working capital, many microbiologists recognize the tremendous benefits of rapid microbiology methods (RMM).

Faster contamination response times, quicker product releases, and automated data capture will bolster the key profit drivers of any organization. The BioLumix platform conducts the tedious tasks for you, allowing microbiologists to focus on higher value tasks and saving money in the process.

On September 12th, Dr. Michael J. Miller, President of Microbiology Consultants, LLC, hosted a web seminar entitled: Implementation of New RMM – BioLumix Case Study. Miller is an internationally recognized expert in pharmaceutical microbiology, contamination control, GMPs, pharmacopoeia compliance, and rapid microbiological methods, among others. The presentation is a rare chance to engage with industry information at no cost, and is streamed by the American Pharmaceutical Review and is available on demand. To listen to the presentation, fill out the form below.

Automated Microbiology Testing is the Key to Laboratory Growth in the 21st Century

Modern microbiology laboratories demand efficiency, and that means constantly improving data quality and lab productivity while simultaneously shortening time to results, and lowering the manufacturing cycle. This works by lowering the required working capital investment through faster release of inventory. As microbiologists become swamped with higher and higher volumes of work, traditional paper-intensive manual plate methodologies are becoming a thing of the past, and automated technology now holds the key to future growth. 

Manual systems are tedious and labor intensive; they are susceptible to transcription errors, and require skilled lab technicians to spend excessive amounts of time performing simple, monotonous tasks. Twenty years ago, when automated microbiological testing systems were not available, this elongated time to results and plodding flow of information was a necessary evil; with the rapidity of technological advancement in the 21st century, this is no longer the case. Automated microbiological testing systems are equipped with flexible electronic designs, allowing lab personnel to more efficiently manage, review, store, and report the high volume of analytical information needed for microbiology quality assurance. Repetition of the same task again and again is often the source of inconsistent results, but automation significantly reduces the chances of human error as well as the risk of lost data, resulting in huge productivity gains for manufacturers and laboratories. In this way, automation can provide companies with a higher level of quality assurance while requiring far less labor, and this equates to a greater profit margin.

In today’s economic climate, automation is essential in order to streamline workflows and ensure a quality product. Expedition of lab work through automation is changing the way that modern microbiology labs function, and the companies that utilize these new microbiology instruments are becoming more productive than ever before. The BioLumix system brings automation to current microbiological testing, providing a new generation of microbiology labs with the tools they need to excel and overcome their challenges. The system operates by using optical sensors, which detect color and fluorescent changes in ready to use carbon dioxide sensing vials, eliminating the need to make, prepare, or quality control traditional media. Automated sample tracking and data management also allows for the safe and immediate transfer of information in a paperless format.

With many labs bereft of a large number of qualified technicians, and subject to a great deal of pressure to analyze a higher volume of samples and deliver rapid results, the BioLumix automated microbiological testing system does the tedious work for you, and can be easily operated by a non-microbiologist. All in all, this equates to a 60% savings in labor, and this newfound time can be utilized by laboratory personnel to perform higher value tasks, such as the interpretation of results and diagnoses of potential problems as early as possible. We have all heard the old adage “time is money,” and that is where the BioLumix rapid testing system truly shines. Simply put, faster detection of microbial contamination results in faster corrective action, and that saves money. A nominal investment in an automated testing system will save your lab valuable days in their quality control process, and can reduce time to results from 7-10 days to 1-2 days. If contaminants are found, products can be recalled much earlier, and manufacturers can quickly take action to substitute raw materials that do not meet specifications. They can also resume production of a high quality product much earlier, which means that a single incident of faster intervention can save more than the cost of an automated rapid testing system.  Speeding up microbiology testing results in the speeding up of production and the reduction of inventory. By implementing a rapid micro method, you can re-allocate new found floor space to increase manufacturing capacity, add more SKU’s to inventory, or reduce distribution center costs.

The BioLumix automated microbiology testing system is easy to use, and can be utilized by modern laboratories to ensure quality products, speed up production, reduce labor, and increase manufacturing capacity by enabling a rapid release of inventory. With a lower working capital investment, and a more efficacious use of microbiologists’ skills, automating with BioLumix will have a profound affect on any organization’s key profit drivers, and may very well be the key to their growth in the 21st century marketplace.

Biolumix Microbiology experts at IAFP in Charlotte NC July 28– 31

The 2013 Annual International Association of Food Protection— Provides attendees with information on current and emerging food safety issues. Participants will be introduced to the latest science, and have a chance to become versed in innovative solutions to new and recurring problems in the food industry. In addition, they will have the opportunity to network with thousands of food safety professionals from around the globe. The IAFP Annual Meeting is attended by more than 2,500 of the top industry, academic and governmental food safety professionals, hailing from six continents. IAFP is famous for their quality and relevance of exhibits, sharing the latest in available technologies; leading experts speaking on a variety of timely topics; and special recognition of outstanding professionals for their contributions in the food safety field.
All of us here at BioLumix want to take this opportunity to invite you to our exhibit (booth #308) and show you what’s new at BioLumix. We continue to innovate, growing our assay repertoire and capabilities – allowing you to perform all required assays on raw ingredients and finished products, as well as test environmental samples and process water.

During the IAFP show we will feature our poster:  Rapid Detection of Pseudomonads in Dairy Products as an Indicator of Product Shelf-Life. The data presented in this study suggests that the BioLumix Pseudomonas vials are capable of early detection of Pseudomonads in dairy products and in processed water. The system offers a reduction in time to results as compared to the plate methodology and eliminates any product interference. In this way, it allows for rapid assessment of any post processing associated problems.

With automated monitoring of ready-to-use assay vials, along with automated data processing and archiving, the microbiologist’s job gets a lot easier with the same accurate results in less than half the time.  Our innovative vial design prevents product interference even when directly testing products, such as yogurt and salad dressing.  Come to our booth (#308) or contact us directly (734-984-3100) to learn more about the exciting new developments we are featuring at this year’s IAFP.

 

 

The BioLumix Advantage

• Vial design prevents product interference

• Automation and connectivity allows faster product release

• Real-time communication for immediate action

• Expedited results: most results in 12-18 hours; Yeast and mold assay in 48 hours

• Automated data archiving and audit trail

• Streamlined testing increases laboratory efficiencies

• Paperless laboratory: centralized test data automatically stored and protected

• Barcode capability for automated sample entry

• Environmental testing made easy

 

Free Product Trial

Give us your most difficult samples and we will test them for free.  We will provide you with a detailed report which includes a side-by-side comparison to your current manual methodology.  The data generated is strictly confidential and is only used to show the high correlation of results should your company decide to purchase.

 

We look forward to working with you and earning another satisfied customer!