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27th September 2022  Content supplied by: Hygiena

Four Reasons to Implement Rapid Microbial Screening for Your Dairy and Beverage Products


When manufacturing dairy and beverage products, product needs to quickly pass quality control and get to market. Traditional methods for microbial testing can take days to weeks and requires several manual processes, increasing the risk for technician error. In addition, many results are not quantitative and require visual inspection for interpretation. Here are four reasons to simplify this process with a rapid microbial screening method, providing quantitative results to release product sooner and positively impact your bottom line.

1. One instrument for multiple beverage products
Testing must be done on finished product to confirm the absence of microbial contamination. This requires individually sampling numerous product packages and culturing positives for confirmation. However, testing is often hampered by beverage complexity.

Rapid microbial screening can eliminate concern and simplify the process, providing reliable, reproducible results in typically 24-48 hours. A well-validated adenosine triphosphate (ATP) microbial screening method, such as the Innovate System, can do this. Since ATP is present in all living organisms, it can be used as an indicator of microorganism presence, even in highly processed dairy and beverage products.

The screening is simple: product is treated to reduce non-microbial sources of ‘background’ ATP. Next, a second reagent reacts with microbial ATP, producing bioluminescence that can be easily read. When optimized, samples can be screened quickly and accurately, allowing product to be released to market rapidly and efficiently.

The Innovate System, can be used to test a wide variety of product types – from cheese sauces, pulpy juices, thick puddings, and flavored milk to ketchup. The RapiScreen™ Beverage reagents, when used with the Innovate System, have strong buffering capacities to neutralize high-acid content in juices and eliminate complex ingredient interference from dairy formulations. The RapiScreen™ Dairy Kit tests dairy and non-dairy milk products. No other rapid method covers such a wide range of applications. The Innovate System is easy to use, even with complex product types that are opaque, highly pigmented, non-filterable, non-soluble, low pH, preserved (or not), or aseptically packaged.

2. Results in as little as 24 hours
The Innovate System utilizes RapiScreen™ ATP bioluminescence technology, the industry standard for screening dairy products due to its speed and clear absence/ presence results, eliminating the need for plate incubation, allowing products to be released days faster. The system has been validated to detect low levels of microbial contamination after only 24-48 hours of incubation.

Within 30 minutes, the RapiScreen kits can detect and quantitate levels of microorganisms present, running 96 individual samples at once with no secondary incubation required. This shortens the time to results and allows for batch testing for multiple sample types.

3. Cost Savings (ROI)
Reduce inventory and warehouse costs by releasing products days faster. With results in as little as 24 hours, the Innovate System can detect contamination in dairy, food, and beverage products where there is a low expectation of bio-burden such as in ultra-high temperature (UHT) or extended shelf-life (ESL) pasteurized products.

Following product analysis, results are automatically exported to the onboard database;a product report is generated for all samples tested, allowing rapid release of products testing negative. By shortening time to results, facilities can reduce inventory requirements and warehouse and quarantine space, resulting in significant savings, positively impacting the bottom line. Results have shown that for >200 installations in >65 countries, dairy industry customers have saved over $500,000 in the first five years. The same should apply to beverage testing.

4. High Volume Automation
For large sample volumes, testing can be further streamlined using the Innovate Autosampler III. It facilitates product sampling from any style carton to the testing plate, increasing efficiency and consistency. It also has the added flexibility of selecting the number of channels for sampling products (4 – 8) to ensure maximum efficiency.

The Innovate Autosampler III offers a continuous workflow;it can prepare 2,000 samples per hour and hold 96-well plates in a queue for subsequent testing on the Innovate System. Maintenance and downtime are minimized with onboard controls;the integrated software allows communication between the production line and the Innovate System using existing LIMS functionality.

Implementing a rapid, easy-to-use solution for microbiological testing aids in analyzing the final beverage product for contamination. The Innovate System can deliver quality control results in less than 30 minutes, allowing beverage and dairy manufacturers to rapidly confirm the quality of their final products and release them quickly to market.

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Date Published: 27th September 2022

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