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.