Microbiological Testing Laboratory | Swab Testing Service

Micro Biological Testing


Microorganisms in cosmetics may cause spoilage or chemical changes in the product and can possibly harm the health and beauty of the consumer. Cosmetics do not need to be sterile, but the preservatives used in them must be able to take care of harmful microbial contamination.

For the manufacturer of cosmetic and personal care products, it is important to ensure that their product is free from pathogenic microorganisms and safe for consumer use.

Why is Testing Required?

  • To ensure product safety
  • To foresee the microbiological risk linked to deterioration
  • To assess the efficiency of antimicrobial preservation
  • To check the cleanliness of your products
  • To check the disinfectant activity according to the AFNOR standards

Microbiological Testing for Water

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 3.4 million people die each year from waterborne diseases, most of whom are young children. In addition, it is estimated that around 50% of the population in developing countries is suffering from some water-related disease or the other.

This makes infections contracted from contaminated water supplies a leading cause of illness and death worldwide and helps to explain why the provision of safe drinking water is of such high priority for governments and aid agencies.

The microbiological testing procedures use samples of water and from these samples, it determines the concentration of bacteria. It is then possible to draw inferences about the suitability of water for use from these concentrations. This process is used, for example, to routinely confirm that water is safe for human consumption or to ensure that bathing and recreational waters are safe to use.

Multiple Fermentation Tube Technique

It is the only procedure that can be used if water samples are very turbid or semi-solids or sludge is to be analysed. The procedure followed is fundamental to bacteriological analyses and the test is used in many countries.

It is customary to report the results of the multiple fermentation tube test for coliforms as a most probable number (MPN) index. This is an index of the number of coliform bacteria that, more probably than any other number, would give the results shown by the test.

Membrane Filter Technique

The membrane filter technique can be used to test relatively large numbers of samples and yield results more rapidly than the multiple fermentation tube technique. It was originally designed for use in the laboratory, but portable equipment is now available that permits use of the technique in the field.

The membrane filter method gives a direct count of the total coliforms and the faecal coliforms present in a given sample of water. A measured volume of water is filtered, under vacuum, through a cellulose acetate membrane of uniform pore diameter, usually 0.45 μm. Bacteria are retained on the surface of the membrane which is placed on a suitable selective medium in a sterile container and incubated at an appropriate temperature. If coliforms and/or faecal coliforms are present in the water sample, characteristic colonies form that can be counted.

Microbiological Testing for Food

Sigma Test and Research Centre, an accredited, full-service analytical laboratory, specializes in microbiological analysis for the food, beverage and environmental industries. Food safety is an integral part of the production of all foods and the shared responsibility of all segments of the supply chain. In recent times there has been increased awareness to evaluate the food safety practices in the production of agricultural products. We have extensive experience and the analytical capability in:

  • Routine microbiological testing
  • Resolving processing problems involving spoilage or pathogen contamination
  • Assisting with regulatory matters such as USDA or FDA detained product
  • Providing accurate results for HACCP or customer requirement
  • Testing of FDA detention seafood imports having salmonella, listeria, light filth, and organoleptic decomposition.
  • Pathogen Analysis

Swab Testing

Every year, the country loses faces loss of human lives, due to foodborne illness which can be prevented by ensuring that impeccable standards are being adhered to during food handling and preparation. However, this is not the case in India as here concern for food hygiene is seldom addressed. In the developed west we have had two major outbreaks of E.coli 0157 resulting in 17 deaths in Scotland and 1 death in Wales.

Maintaining cleanliness and minimizing cross-contamination is a fundamental pre-requisite and critical control point of any food safety program and the principles of HACCP require effective monitoring systems. The visual assessment of cleanliness is unscientific, subjective, unreliable and of questionable value. Simple rapid methods for assessing cleanliness are available and are used by both food processors and inspectors.

Sigma Test and Research Centre, offers two types of single-shot disposable testing which generate results in 1-10 minutes in the form of visible colour change that does not require any sophisticated instrument. The test format is an all-in-one, ready to use swab device that is activated by a simple snap and squeeze action; nothing else is required. The greater the contamination the faster and intense is the colour change.

Pro-Clean detects the presence of protein residues and provides result in 10 minutes. If the surface is clean then a green colour is displayed, if the surface is unclean various shades of purple are displayed. The test is primarily intended for meat processors and butchers, but can also be used for catering applications. High sensitivity protein test such as AllerSnap can be used as part of an allergen control program.

SpotCheck Plus detects the presence of simple sugars (especially glucose and lactose) that are present in most foodstuffs. Results are obtained in 60 seconds and the colour changes from colourless (clean ) to green (dirty). This test is faster, more sensitive and detects a broader range of foodstuffs than protein tests such as Pro-clean. The Test can be used by food processors, caterers, restaurants and supermarkets.

ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) monitoring has been used by the food industry for more than 30 years and it is a well-accepted method giving almost instant quantitative results in 15 seconds. The technology employed is called bio-luminescence because it uses a light-emitting enzyme reaction. The test systems consist of all in one, ready to use test devices and a small portable instrument to convert the light signal into a numerical output and ATP content of the sample. The greater the level of contamination the greater is the potential risk. Thereby, Swab Testing is essential for checking the microbial content in food as well.

It is observed that cleaning and environmental monitoring are critical for allergen control. A combination of three comprehensive, sensitive and rapid result that in turn delivers a timely cost-effective solution. The regular use of high sensitivity protein tests requires high standards of cleaning to be maintained that can be supplemented with the specific allergen tests done less frequently and as required.

It is accepted that rapid testing methods that detect food product residues on product contact surfaces provide for a direct, objective and relevant measurement of cleaning efficiency, hygiene, monitoring systems,  meaning instant corrective action can be taken to avoid potential compromises to food quality, food safety and also to minimize the risk of food poisoning.

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