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.

 

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.

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