Preservative efficacy testing: considerations and areas for savings

By Joseph Heinzelmann

Often one of the first questions we receive about the BioLumix system is “how much does it cost?” While this blog post won’t be able to cover specifics on the costs of the BioLumix system or the individual tests, it will outline some of the considerations and areas for savings as it relates to preservative efficacy testing according to the United States Pharmacopeia <51>.  In our example analysis, we are able to reduce the cost of doing PET by nearly 40%.

USP <51> helps show the effectiveness of a preservative, or a preservative system. This testing is done according to the procedures outlined in USP Chapter <51> Antimicrobial Effectiveness Testing. This chapter describes in detail which organisms to use, the appropriate inoculum based on a product, and the necessary log reductions that the preservative system needs to achieve.

Before getting started on a comparison of protocols, we have to make sure a suitability study has been performed. The following link describes how suitability can be performed: http://www.mybiolumix.com/the-importance-of-suitability-testing/. The experts at Neogen can help you with your suitability testing questions.

Before a side-by-side comparison is done, a validation is required of any alternative method. Using the protocol outlines in USP chapter <1223> Validation of Alternative Microbiological Methods we can see that the BioLumix system meets the following requirements: Specificity, Limit of detection, precision and repeatability, robustness ruggedness, false negative rate, and false positive rate. A more in-depth discussion around USP validations and Neogen’s Validation book can be found here: http://www.mybiolumix.com/biolumix-validation-book-for-dietary-supplements/

An overview of USP <51> can be found here: http://www.mybiolumix.com/guidelines-simplified-automated-microbiology-testing-system. The two methods can be broken down into two approaches; materials and labor. Comparing the materials is straight forward. Reviewing the protocol shows that each time point requires an analysis of 3 bacteria, 1 yeast and 1 mold. Each organism requires a neutralization, and multiple dilutions when using traditional microbiology. Each organism also requires a total of 5 plates! Each plate requires a dilution blank, as well as a pipette tip.


There are several points of parity between the USP <51> traditional plate count methodology and the BioLumix system. First, the BioLumix system also requires 3 bacteria, 1 yeast, and 1 mold to comply with USP <51>. Each method will also test the preservative system at multiple time points over the course of 28 days. However, the BioLumix system is able to provide a microbiological count without 5 plates, without multiple dilution blanks, and without multiple pipette tips. The picture below helps illustrate how a nearly 40% reduction is achieved with Neogen’s BioLumix system methodology.

The second comparison is to determine the amount of labor required to run a USP <51> protocol with traditional methods. With the automation of the BioLumix system eliminates plate reading. The vials in the BioLumix system are automatically read, and the result is recorded in the database. Report writing is simplified with the Certificate of Analysis generated automatically. Time study estimates performed by Neogen estimate the labor reduction using BioLumix for PET is greater than 60%!

The BioLumix system is great for additional quality testing according to USP chapters 61 and 62. The advantages of BioLumix for this application has been covered in a recent blog post: http://www.mybiolumix.com/the-relevance-of-usp-methodology-in-microbiology-in-pharmaceuticals/.

Learn more by asking our experts for a cost breakdown, suitability analysis or additional information by contacting the author or our microbiology experts.

 

Join Neogen at ASM2015

Neogen invites you to visit them at booth #674 at the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) General Meeting coming up next month from May 30 — June 2.

Held at the Ernest North Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, ASM2015 is
one of the largest microbiology conferences and Neogen will be exhibiting their leading microbiological testing products.

Neogen has a suite of microbiological testing products, including dehydrated culture media – Acumedia.  Neogen also has pathogen detection methodologies for food matrices. These tests are often used in conjunction with Neogen’s line of Acumedia product. More information on Neogen’s Food Safety division and foodborne pathogen detection systems can be found here.

In addition to the traditional and pathogen detection methodologies, Noegen also has the BioLumix system. The BioLumix system helps customers rapidly test finished goods, raw materials, or in-process commodities for bacteria, yeasts and molds, and other objectionable organisms. One of the key features of the BioLumix system is the 48 hour certificate of analysis. Dietary supplement and nutraceutical companies are able to maintain compliance with certain aspects of 21 CFR part 111 using the BioLumix system. Also, the validation book helps our customers easily survive audits and come as a package deal with the BioLumix system from Neogen.

If you aren’t familiar with the type of information that’s presented at ASM, the agenda can be found at: http://gm.asm.org/. The opening session of the meeting provides a scope of the 2014 program, which can be viewed in its entirety here.

To help solidify your knowledge and keep you up-to-date in the evolving world of microbiology, there are also several educational sessions at ASM2015. These included everything from overviews on pathogenic organisms, to detection and characterization developments. Additional interesting topics include transmission of pathogens, evolution of microbes, and even natural food trends as they relate to microbiology. Posters and sessions related to food microbiology can be found at: ASM2015.

Whether you are a manufacture, a researcher or a student, Neogen would love for you to stop by their booth to talk more about microbiology and discuss the food safety solutions we have available. ASM2015 is shaping up to be another great conference and Neogen is looking forward to hearing what exciting things you’re learning while you’re there.

Reducing the cost of preservative efficacy testing

By Joe Heinzelmann

The implementation of cGMP for all manufacturers (large and small) of dietary supplements andNutraceutical productsmeans 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 SalmonellaE. 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.

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.

Accelerating the detection of yeast and mold in yogurt

By Jennifer Johnson

What was once an obscure foreign dairy product, Greek yogurt has exploded into a billion dollar business, and it is still growing!  Greek yogurt sales are 50% higher than at this time last year and represent more than one-third of all yogurt sold in the U.S. By comparison, in 2007 Greek yogurt accounted for only 1% of the total yogurt market.

As with regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is made from fermented milk that is soured and thickened by adding specific lactic acid-producing cultures. However, Greek yogurt is strained more times than traditional yogurt to remove more whey. As a result, Greek yogurt is thicker and has more protein than regular yogurt. The basic cultures or probiotics used to make yogurt are Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus and many additional probiotic organisms are often added which include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidobacterium species, all of which may help to maintain the balance of bacteria needed to boost the immune system and promote a healthy digestive tract. According to the Obesity Action Coalition, yogurt is the number 1 natural source of probiotics eaten by Americans. The live microorganisms in Greek yogurt can help improve your digestive system, help your body absorb nutrients, and improve your health. Greek yogurt may also help ease gastrointestinal conditions like constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, lactose intolerance, and diarrhea.

It is this overabundance of helpful bacteria that can interfere with the detection of yeast and molds in Greek yogurt.

Yeast and Mold Testing in Yogurt

Undesirable microorganisms constitute the primary hazard to safety, quality, and wholesomeness of milk and dairy foods. Yogurt is susceptible to microbial contamination, especially by fungi which grow and reproduce in acidic environments containing oxygen.  In a study by Montagna et.al. (1998), a variety of differently manufactured yogurts from a variety of manufactures tested positive for fungi, of which 75% of the 7.2% positives were yeasts and 25% were molds with counts between 200 and >106 cfu/ml. Yogurts contaminated by fungi can have modified organoleptic characteristics. The most common molds found were Aspergillus and Penicillium and the most common yeast belonged to Candida, Cryptococcus, Rhodotorula species.

Traditional methods are slow, tedious, labor intensive, and often not suitable for assessing the quality and shelf-life of perishable dairy products. The emphasis on the programs based on HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) for total quality management in the dairy industry and increased demand for microbiological surveillance of products, process, and environment, have led to increased interest in rapid methods and automation in microbiology. In the past few years rapid automated methods such as BioLumix and Soleris have been adopted to speed up time to results and automate and simplify the microbiologist tasks.

The BioLumix technology can make the microbiological testing simpler, faster, and automated, saving time, labor and money. 

The BioLumix test method for detection of yeast & molds involves a direct addition of the sample into ready to use vials and automated monitoring of the samples in the instrument. This simple method saves labor and disposables.  The yeast & mold assay is completed in 48 hours as compared to the 5 days required for the standard assay.

The ready–to-use vial comes with media that is pre-adjusted for pH, such that after the addition of the sample the appropriate pH for the growth of the microorganisms is attained. BioLumix has developed such a media that is custom made with a higher pH to accommodate the low pH of yogurt while still maintaining the capability to test as much as 1.0 gram of product directly in the vials. The addition of the supplement to the vial results in the elimination of background growth from lactic bacteria resulting in flat curves.

The initial work with yogurts containing high levels of probiotics showed that the probiotics caused false detection in the instrument due to the CO2 production by the Probiotic bacteria.  As shown in the picture below, the addition of a supplement containing inhibitors to prevented the growth of the probiotics in the vials and resulted in a clear detection of fungi, when present, and a clean flat curve when organisms are not present. 

This newly developed assay has a high sensitivity, being able to detect a few yeast or molds in a gram of sample, is easy to perform (less than one minute hands on time), and result in quick time to results. Many different flavors of various brands of yogurt were tested and none created a false positive result.  Store bought contaminated yogurt detected in the system as did all the samples inoculated with low levels of yeast or mold.

The BioLumix System is designed to accelerate product release with a simplified, automated approach. The system 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.

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.

If you are interested in participating a field trial with Neogen’s new test, please contact marketing.fs@neogen.com

 

Reference:
M.T. Montagna, R. Erroi, S. Sanapo, G. Caggiano, F. Bagordo, A. De Donno, Food products and fungal contamination. Note I. Preliminary investigation in commercial yoghurt. Journal of Preventative Medicine and Hygiene 39: 68-70. 1998

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.

Soleris and BioLumix – when to use which system

By Joseph Heinzelmann

As the need for rapid microbiological testing in various industries continues to grow, Neogen’s recent acquisition of BioLumix helps provide new resources to an already successful rapid microbiological testing product. Specifically in the nutraceutical, dietary supplement, cosmetic and pharmaceutical markets, the BioLumix system serves customers with a system supported by validation datasets, ready to use microbial tests, and Neogen’s excellent customer service. In fact, the value of the system from the perspective of some of our customer’s can be found in their testimonials and feedback. Along with great customer service, some of the key aspects that customers are able to take advantage of include 48-hour certificate of analysis and ready to use assays.

Upon reviewing both the BioLumix system and Soleris, it is apparent that both of these systems offer advantages over other methods and products. These include:

  • Expedited results: most results in 12-18 hours; Yeast and mold assay in 48 hours
  • Automation and connectivity allows faster product release
  • Streamlined testing increases laboratory efficiencies
  • Paperless laboratory: centralized test data automatically stored and protected
  • Ready to use test vials
  • Excellent customer support

The differences lie in the application and validation information supporting both systems. For example, the BioLumix system has submitted a DMF to help aid companies on technical and regulatory information on approvals for prescription drugs. The BioLumix system has an established protocol for preservative efficacy testing, adhering to USP Chapter <51>. Neogen also has the capability to provide services on the BioLumix system, such as suitability testing, USP Chapter <61>.  The BioLumix system comes with uniquely designed validation books for nutraceutical and dietary supplements, cosmetics and toiletry, and for over the counter medication.

Similarly, the Soleris system has been for various food matrices. For
example Soleris has been validated for use in aseptically packed UHT products, dressings and sauces, and many other matrices as supported by the AOAC approvals. Because of the focus over the last few years of Soleris in food matrices, Neogen has developed various tests and applications specifically for food. For example, the 48 hours direct lactic acid vial for dressings and sauces, the orange serum broth vial for low pH and beverage applications, and the alicyclobacillus vial for beverages.

Validation strategies for both systems also varied because of market requirements. For example, in the food industry, companies seeking certain SQF level certifications require an AOAC approval on all methods used. Meaning that food testing validations were done according to the outlines and recommendations provided by AOAC International.

In addition, Neogen’s industry leading customer and technical service are now supported by the microbiological excellence of the staff from BioLumix. Both systems come with packages and programs for installation qualification, operational qualification and performance qualification. Furthermore, both systems have packages available to maintain the system through preventative maintenance programs.

Which system is right for you? It depends on the type of products manufactured, and the requirements. Neogen would be happy to help you understand the advantages of both systems and provide more information that can help you make the correct decision. You can contact Neogen by calling 800-234-5333 or emailing foodsafety@neogen.com.

 

Year-end wrap up: Rapid microbiology in 2014

By Gerry Broski and Ruth Eden

To those people who still honor the tradition of sending out hard copy holiday cards, it has become quite popular for families to include a “year in review update,” which updates children’s ages, significant family events and, for those that are retired, travel destinations which have been checked off the bucket list. Electronically, this is our company update and we’ll send out the electronic holiday cards later this month.

As the year comes to a close and we review input from our customers, our market data indicates that in test method evaluation our customers are looking for higher specificity, faster time to results, and a reasonable cost-per test. They also want flexibility so that the testing platform can adapt to a number of matrices. Other factors include ease of use, robustness, and a test that is approved or can be approved. These factors above must be compelling enough for a company to switch from their existing method and adopt new technology, and it’s not just the QC or QA staff who are in the evaluation loop.

I recently went on a sales call to a company which was evaluating one of our rapid micro systems for the detection of spoilage organisms, and the conversation between the QA manager and the plant manager was enlightening. While the test would involve more work and cost for the QA department, the direct benefit would be realized for the plant manager since the product could be shipped with a much shorter quarantine period, resulting in increased throughput, and significant cost saving by compressing the sales cycle.  Summary:  Cost for QA, benefit for Operations.

That being said, automated rapid detection of microorganisms is a proven process which meets the customer criteria on several levels. It is sensitive and rapid, it can be used on almost all matrices, it involves less touch-time, takes up less space than plating or film methods, and offers a good value on a cost-per test basis. When one considers that it is essentially a “load and leave” test when interfaced to a LIMS system, the benefits are clear.

Suren Zatikyan from Wepackitall commented “When we discovered the BioLumix system, we found 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 confirmed by us, proved that the system is compatible with 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.”

Kristopher Flores from Wepackitall added “If the BioLumix system wasn’t in place, it would be tougher to support our needs for testing and throughput. 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 saves time, money, and makes an impact on the big picture for our customers.”

Neogen now offers two platforms for rapid micro detection of spoilage organisms, the BioLumix System and the Soleris System.  The BioLumix system is geared toward applications which follow USP protocols including dietary supplements, cosmetics and toiletry, while the Soleris System facilitates testing in food matrices requiring AOAC approved methods.

With hundreds of BioLumix and Soleris systems in use, Neogen is the clear leader in rapid microbiology testing in dietary supplements and nutraceutical products and very strong in many market segments in the food industry with Soleris AOAC approved tests. From initial contact to the completion of the installation and beyond, our commitment is to provide unparalleled support and total customer satisfaction.

Other advantages include:

 you can count on our sales teams to respond quickly, with the focus on your needs and goals. In addition, we can quickly and easily show you the value and the ROI.

• Expertise 
– Knowing how the BioLumix or Soleris systems will work with your products gives you peace of mind. That’s why we test samples – your samples – for you.

• Compliance validation for BioLumix systems
 – 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 
– These easy to master systems offers a new level of productivity. Sample preparation takes less than 2 minutes. The BioLumix System offers certificate of analysis generation in as little as 24-48 hours.• Support – We are committed to satisfying our customers and providing unparalleled support.

The future looks bright for Neogen and the field of rapid microbiology as we continue our ongoing commitment to the evolution to our BioLumix and Soleris platforms based on customer feedback and technology gains. That being said, I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation to all of our valued customers with whom we have grown significantly with through the years. With your support will continue to evolve and offer you even more valuable products.

 

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.

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.  

Rapid Microbiological Testing of Osmophilic Yeast with the BioLumix Vial

Osmophilic or osmotolerant yeasts are able to grow in products containing high concentrations of organic solutes, particularly sugars. These organisms do not require a high water activity value and tolerate drier environments than non-osmotolerant organisms. Osmophilic yeast can cause spoilage of honey, corn syrup, jam, molasses,flavored syrups and toppings, and concentrated fruit juices. Many of the yeasts causing this spoilage belong to the genus Zygosaccharomyces. It is of great importance in the food industry to test for these organisms. Although no osmophilic organisms are highly pathogenic, they may cause food poisoning and opportunistic infections, especially in people with weakened immune systems.

Current Methodology

Although there are many techniques used to test and enumerate Osmophilic yeast, a standard method has not been attained. Different types of growth media have been suggested, but like the techniques, not one type of agar has been adopted as the standard. Using the plate count method, samples are blended with sterile phosphate buffer containing high concentration of glucose. Petri dishes are then inoculated with the appropriate dilution of the product, and agar medium that would promote growth of the Osmophilic yeast is added, depending on the type of product. Plates are incubated for 5-7 days. Membrane filtration technique can also be utilized to test the Osmophilic yeast. Typically, a 25-gram sample is added to the flask and mixed well with sterile distilled water. After filtration, provided that the product can be filtered, the walls of the flask and funnel are rinsed with the distilled water, and the filter placed on a desired growth medium and incubated for 5-7 days. Both the plate count and membrane filtration techniques pose threats to damaged organisms from general processing procedures, temperature of agar, and temperature, pressure and duration of incubation. Colonies may also be very small and difficult to count.

The BioLumix Osmophilic Yeast Vial

The BioLumix system provides Osmophilic Yeast results 3 days faster than the aforementioned methodologies. The Osmophilic Yeast vial has a CO2 sensor that is monitored by the yellow LED light in the BioLumix Instrument. This particular vial contains much more sugar than a typical Yeast and Mold vial, to allow only Osmophilic yeast to grow. The vial also contains Chloramphenicol to prevent the growth of bacteria.

The procedure to test for Osmophilic yeast is very simple; just add 10 grams of product to 90mL Tryptic Soy Broth or buffer, and add the appropriate amount to ready-to-use Osmophilic vials. For some product the sample can be added directly into the vial. From this 1:10 dilution, other dilutions can be made if necessary. From the appropriate dilution, 0.1 to 1.0 mL is added to the BioLumix vial. compared to the plate method. Figure 1 shows curves generated by the Zygosaccharomyces rouxii ATCC 34890 (blue) and 28253 (green). organisms while preventing product interference. It offers a reduced work load, faster time-to-results, and fewer costs associated with testing. The BioLumix system can make the microbiological testing simpler, faster and automated. The test runs for 48 hours, cutting the time-to-results by three days as The BioLumix system allows for selectivity of organisms while preventing product interference. It offers a reduced work load, faster time-to-results, and fewer costs associated with testing. The BioLumix system can make the microbiological testing simpler, faster and automated.

References:

Downes, Frances P., and Keith Ito. Microbiological Examination of Foods. 4th ed. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association, 2001.

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 Yeast and Mold Testing yielding Results in 48 hours

Why test for Yeast and Molds?

Molds are agents which can be responsible for the contamination and spoilage of a variety of products. Some molds develop mycotoxins which diffuse into the product and may, if present in sufficient quantity, cause acute or chronic poisoning. The presence of yeasts may produce changes affecting product quality and salability, leading to significant financial implications for food producers.

Both yeast and mold can cause various degrees of deterioration and decomposition of products such as cosmetics, and foods. Products containing yeast and mold cells do not usually cause human illness, but high levels of these organisms can cause products to look, smell, or taste bad. This not only diminishes the appeal of the product and brand, but can also result in substantial economic losses to the producer, processor and consumer.

Yeasts are facultative anaerobe, mono-cellular fungi, fermenting sugar substrate to CO2 and H2O. Under anaerobic conditions yeasts ferment sugar to alcohol and CO2. The term “mold” is commonly used for the visible part of the fungi present on the surface of contaminated products. Fungal spoilage of food remains a serious problem, one that has been estimated to account for between 5% and 10% of all losses in global food production.

Plate Count Method for Yeast and Molds

Most industrial products are required to be tested for yeast and mold. The pate count methodology for testing yeast and molds are described in various reference publications, including Foods (Bacteriological Analytical Manual, 8th Edition, 1998. Chapter 18); Cosmetic and non-sterile Pharmaceutical products (USP) and Nutritional and Dietary supplement products (USP).

The methods involve mixing the sample with a diluent followed by decimal dilutions and the addition of the diluted sample into duplicate Petri dishes, the addition of selective culture media (such as Potato Dextrose Agar, Sabouraud Dextrose Agar). The plates are incubated for 5-7 days at 20-250C, after which plates with 25-250 colonies are counted. Due to the ability of some molds to spread rapidly on the plates, the interpretation of conventional colony counts can be difficult, requiring considerable staff input. Automated methods can help reduce the possibility of human error and free up skilled technicians for other tasks.

BioLumix Rapid Simplified Assay

Principle of Operation

The BioLumix Yeast and mold vial (YM) includes a CO2 Sensor. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a universal metabolite produced by all microorganisms. For yeast and molds, the Krebs cycle is part of a metabolic pathway involved in the chemical conversion of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into CO2, water and energy, and as a result all aerobic organisms generate CO2. The sensor is located at the bottom of the vial. The sensor vial contains a transparent solid sensor that changes color whenever CO2 diffuses into it. The color of the sensor is dark in sterile vials. As microorganisms grow the sensor turns yellow, indicating CO2 production and metabolic growth.

A crucial element of the technology is the creation of two zones in each vial:

  • An incubation zone (upper part) for the sample and microorganisms. This zone tends to contain product debris and turbidity due to microbial growth. A reading zone (bottom part) that remains optically clear.
  • This two-zone vial eliminates interference of the optical pathway by the product and microbial turbidity. Since changes of color are monitored in the reading zone, results are not influenced by the presence of the sample or the growing microorganisms. Only gases can penetrate into the sensor that blocks liquids, microorganisms and particulate matter. The user introduces the sample by simply opening the screw cap and dropping the sample into the incubation zone.

Typical Results

The typical procedure involves the addition of the sample to a diluent followed by the addition of the sample to the ready-to-use vial. The vials are introduced into the BioLumix instrument and the rest of the operation is fully automated, including report generation.

Variety of yeast and molds where tested with the YM vial. High numbers of yeast can detect in a few hours where as single numbers detect normally in 30 hours. Mold grow a little slower, while high numbers can detect in 6-8 hours, low numbers might take up to 48 hours to detect.

variety of products were tested for yeast and molds including: Nutraceutical and Dietary supplements (multi vitamins, amino acids, enzymes, Psyllium, Spirulina, fish oil, and numerous other supplements); Over-the-Counter Pharmaceutical (soft and liquid capsules, cold remedies, vitamins and minerals, eye care products, oral hygiene products, laxatives, antacids, pain relives, to name a few); Cosmetics and toiletry products ( hand cream, Aloe concentrate, hair dye, shampoos and conditioners, tooth pastes and rinses, soaps, mascara, lipstick, foundation, and many more); Foods (cheese, yogurt, ice-cream, salad dressing, fruit pulp, etc.)

Advantages

The first noticeable advantage is that BioLumix provides results in 48 hours, compared to traditional methods, which take 5-7 days. The rapid results provided enables manufacturers to release their products into the supply chain much earlier than when testing with traditional methods.

BioLumix can make the microbiological testing simpler, faster, and automated- saving significant time, labor and money. The YM vial accelerates product release with a simplified, automated approach. This yields fast, accurate results while reducing costs.

  • Vial design prevents product interference
  • Automation and connectivity allows faster product release
  • Real-time communication for immediate action
  • Expedite results: Yeast and mold assay in 48 hours
  • Early warning of contaminated samples
  • No decimal dilutions required- direct sample introduction to vials
  • Automated data archiving and audit trail
  • Streamline testing increases laboratory efficiencies
  • 21 CFR Part 11 Compliant Software
  • Paperless laboratory: centralized test date automatically stored and protected
  • Barcode capability for automated sample entry
  • Environmental made easy

Rapid Coliform, Yeast and Mold Testing of Yogurt

Testing of Yogurt and Other Dairy Products

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.  The popularity of yogurt has increased due to its perceived health benefit resulting in significant increase in consumption (Chandan et. al 2006) as shown in Figure.

Recently Reuters reported that Dannon, the world’s largest yogurt maker, announced that it expects annual double digit percentage dairy sales growth in the United States over the long term.

Microbiological Testing of Yogurt

Undesirable microorganisms constitute the primary hazard to safety, quality, and wholesomeness of milk and dairy foods.   The primary assays performed in yogurt are yeast and mold (requiring up to 7 days for results) and the coliform assay that is used as an indication of appropriate processing. Traditional methods are slow, tedious, labor intensive, and often not suitable for assessing the quality and shelf-life of perishable dairy products. 

 The emphasis on the programs based on HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) for total quality management in the dairy industry and increased demand for microbiological surveillance of products, process, and environment have led to increased interest in rapid methods and automation in microbiology.

BioLumix technology can make the microbiological testing simpler, faster, and automated.  Saving time, labor and money. 

The BioLumix test method for detection of coliform and yeast & molds involves a direct addition of the sample into ready to use vials and automated monitoring of the samples in the instrument.  The coliform assay is completed in 12 hours, while most contaminated samples are flagged within a typical shift.  The yeast & molds assay is completed in 48 hours as compared to the 5 days required for the standard assay.

The ready–to-use vials come with media that is pre-adjusted for pH, such that after the addition of the sample the appropriate pH for the growth of the microorganisms is attained.  BioLumix has developed such a media that is custom made with a higher pH to accommodate the low pH of yogurt while still maintaining the capability to test as much as 1.0 gram of product directly in the vials.    

Coliform Assay:

The curves obtained by the addition of 1.0 gram of yogurt to a high pH vial (pH 8.2) of coliform are shown:

The Dark Blue curve shows the 1.0 gram sample.  All product interference has been eliminated as depicted by the flat part of the curve.  The Green Curve illustrates a yogurt sample inoculated with a coliform.




In North America, BioLumix has tested yogurt samples manufactured by a number of companies.  The Table below includes a series of products from one such company Yoplait, Ontario, Canada.  These samples include low fat and regular varieties. 

Lemon Cream Pie Light Fat Free
Key Lime Pie Original 99% Fat Free
Strawberry Shortcake Light Fat Free
Raspberry Mousse Whips
Strawberry Thick & Creamy Low Fat
Key Lime Pie Original
Delights Parfait Chocolate Raspberry

All un-inoculated products resulted in flat curves as seen in the Figure.  Product interference was not found.

All products tested were shown to be clean (<1 coliform/ gram).  All inoculated products detected in the system in less than 8 hours.

Yeast and Mold Assay:
Similar results were obtained for yeast and molds. The curves show the results obtained with a variety of yogurt products.

Fieldberry Stirred Yogurt Dark blue
Raspberry Stirred Yogurt Green
Raspberry Stirred Yogurt-inoc CAD L- blue
Yoplait Mingo Red
Yoplait Mingo-inoc ASP Purple
Tubes- Raspberry Yellow
Tubes- Grapes Tan
Irresistible Creamy yogurt Vanilla Dark green

The inoculated samples (light blue- inoculated with Candida albicans; purple inoculated with Aspergillus niger) detected in less than 24 hours.  All the un-inoculated samples were clean and did not detect in the vials.  A total of 50 different yogurts were tested using this method and the data showed that all the samples that contained either yeast or mold detected in the system and none of the clean samples detected.  The plate count results agreed 100% with the BioLumix vial results.

Conclusion:

The BioLumix system is designed to accelerate product release with a simplified, automated approach. This yields fast, accurate, real-time results while reducing costs. The BioLumix offers real-time results of contaminated samples saving hours, possibly days. Completed Coliform or Enterobacteriaceae results are obtained within 12 hours; Yeast and Mold results are obtained within 48 hours.

References:

R.C. Chandan, C.H. White, A. Kilara, and Y.H. Hui. 2006. in Manufacturing Yogurt and Fermented Milks. Blackwell Publishing.

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