Fast, Reliable Preservative Efficacy Test and Microbial Detection for Cosmetics

Microbial contamination of cosmetic products is important to the industry and can be a cause of both product and economic losses. The water and nutrients present in the product can make them susceptible to microbial growth; although, only a few cases of human injury due to contaminated cosmetic products have been ever reported. More often, microorganisms are the cause of alterations in product appearance and smell; such as changes in viscosity and color or offensive odors.

The Challenge of Cosmetic microbiologists stretches beyond providing clean consumer products to be sold in stores, they need to provide safe products which will be reused following subsequent consumer self contamination.  Every time a brush, a sponge, a hand or other cosmetic applicator is wiped from one’s self and reintroduced to the product, microorganisms (which exist on everyone’s skin, eye lashes, lips, etc) are being transferred into the product. Cosmetic microbiologists need to develop product preservative formulations which are capable killing these newly introduced microorganisms before they multiply to harmful levels.  The demand to develop consumer friendly as well as environmentally friendly formulations that are less conspicuous to consumers and still protected against microbial contamination is greater then ever.  

To assure that the cosmetic products are going to be safe even after re-contamination by the user a “Preservative Efficacy Test” (PET) or “Challenge Test” is performed. The PET is performed by artificially and heavily contaminating a product with representative microorganisms. After defined periods of time, a specifically defined reduction in the microbial populations must take place.  The current plate count method requires numerous dilutions, sample plating, incubating, not to mention a great deal of plate handling and reading, along with tedious manual data transcription.

Resent trends in this field not only include research for fast, reliable alternative methods to detect microbial contamination, they include efforts to automate Preservative Efficacy Testing. To date there has not been an effective automated method developed for the Preservative Efficacy Test (PET).    

The BioLumix Alternative

BioLumix now offers an automated solution for both PET and microbial contamination on a single platform saving labor and consumables while reducing time to results.

The BioLumix Optical Technology is based on continuously monitoring changes of color / fluorescence as a result of the microbial metabolism in test vials. The results are presented as soon as detections occur without any involvement from an operator.  The technology utilizes a CO2 sensor that is a universal detector of aerobic bacteria, yeast and mold metabolism (Remember the Kreb’s cycle? Part of this metabolic pathway involves the conversion of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into water, CO2 and energy).   

The procedure utilized allows for an easy estimate of the initial inoculum with a single ready-to-use vial that can replace multiple plates.  After the product interaction with inoculated product the system automatically calculates if the appropriate reduction in numbers of organisms was achieved.

The system is fully automated with automated data archiving, data maintenance in databases, and automated report generation.  It is paperless, increasing efficiency and saving on disposables, time and space, and best of all the system is unaffected by product interference.  Please call us for a free product trial.

Kevin LaBrecque

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