A New Rapid Microbiology Method based on Measuring Oxygen Depletion

The techniques available for the microbiological monitoring of products and manufacturing environments have come a long way in the past few decades. Even though enumerating microbial cells by counting colonies on an agar Petri dish is still a common technique, a variety of more sophisticated and rapid methods are making their way into the quality control microbiology labratory. These Rapid Microbiological Methods (RMM) exploit chemical and physical methods developed to elucidate the structure of cell compenents and the functions of biomolecules. These methods are then applied to the detection, enumeration and identification of microogranisms that may be present in pharmaceutical, food and beverage, water and other samples submitted to the quality control labs. Thus, the simple view of a bacterial cell as a tiny entity so small as to be invisible to the naked eye, and countable only by either microscopy or culture, is changing to a much more complex picture encompassing the most intimate details of the cell structure and the biomolecules that form it.

In this paper we describe an oxygen, depletion-based method as a rapid microbiology assay to test surface microbial contamination in cleanroom environments. Other applications of this technology include testing microbial bioburden in raw materials, excipients, drug products, pharmaceutical water, and environmental monitoring applications in the pharmaceutical industry. The system detects microbial contamination based on measurements of oxygen depletion upon time of incubation in a pharmacopoeia-recommended liquid broth, such as TSB. The results of this study show that this rapid microbiology technology is reliable, sensitive, and equivalent to standard compendia tests.


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