Fast, Accurate Dairy Microbiology Testing For Yeast and Mold

Cultured dairy products are the fastest growing area of consumer dairy consumption.1 Rapid dairy microbiology testing for yeast and mold, the most common contaminants in these products, is critical to the industry and consumer safety. Yeast and mold can cause substantial economic losses and produce harmful metabolites.2

Traditional dairy microbiology testing requires 5 days to complete using the plate count methodology. Sending samples to outside labs adds to the cost and time of testing. A microbiological system developed by BioLumix has cut dairy microbiology testing time to as little as 24-48 hours. With the BioLumix microbiological system, manufacturers can streamline existing dairy microbiology testing operations or internalize their outsourced testing for reduced costs and improved efficiency.

In-house microbiology testing with the BioLumix system is simple. Samples are placed in ready-to-use, disposable vials that contain a transparent solid sensor at the bottom. These sensors detect the production of CO2 by all yeasts and molds. This means that if yeasts and molds begin to grow in the medium above the sensor, they will produce CO2 that will diffuse into the sensor and change the sensor’s color. Only gases can penetrate the sensor, which means the optical readings cannot be masked by any liquids, microorganisms, and/or particulate matter.

The BioLumix microbiological system can then detect any optical changes, presenting the results of the assays as soon as detections occur with no need for involvement of an operator or a microbiologist, providing significant savings on laboratory labor. Any out-of-spec samples are flagged in red, demanding attention. The greater the contamination level, the faster the result, ensuring a rapid warning of poor-quality raw materials, finished products or any equipment line issues. The speed of these dairy microbiology results ensure that dairy product manufacturers don’t have delays from testing so they can move products from the warehouse to the marketplace quickly and without premature spoilage.

A recent dairy microbiology study assessed the BioLumix microbiological system with various cultured dairy products that were clean, naturally contaminated, or inoculated with different yeast or mold strains. This included products with high levels of active starter culture or probiotics.3 The BioLumix microbiological system demonstrated 100% accuracy in detecting over 100 different combinations of clean contaminant products, which was comparable to plate count methodology, the current standard in dairy microbiology. However, the BioLumix microbiological system reduced detection time from 5 days to 24 hours for most yeast and 48 hours for mold.

The BioLumix microbiological system simplifies and automates your laboratory procedures by delivering shorter sample preparation, automated real-time communication, fast product release, and early warning of contamination, as well as automated data entry, data archiving, report generation and product release. With reliable dairy microbiology results in just 24-48 hours, dairy manufacturers can focus on efficiency and product quality. For a full reprint of the study or any further information on the BioLumix microbiological system, visit or call 1-734-984-3100.


1. Cogan TM, et al. Advances in starter cultures and cultured foods. J Dairy Sci. 2007;90:4005-4021.

2. Hussein HS, Brasel JM. Toxicity, metabolism and impact of mycotoxins on human and animals. Toxicology. 2001;167:101-134.

3. Eden RF, Brideau R. Rapid automated detection of yeast and molds in cultured dairy products. International Association of Food Protection Annual Meeting 2009.

Karen F. Vieira, Ph.D.

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