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31st May 2022  Content supplied by: Hygiena

High Performance Testing for Low pH Beverages

In the food industry, highly acidic and complex matrices pose challenges when it comes to reliable microbial testing. The low pH of these finished products can interfere with analytical testing, leading to potential inaccuracy. As a result, repeat testing must be performed, leading to further delays in product release.  This is especially true for highly acidic beverages, such as fruit juices, coffee, tea, and complex beverages such as protein shakes.

Traditional methods rely on testing finished products using either pH monitoring or microbiological plating. These methods often take days or weeks to generate results, require manual processing and are not guaranteed to detect contamination. The reasons for this can include slow growth of microorganisms, microbial growth that does not generate a significant pH change or matrix interference. As a result, food manufacturers incur higher costs, higher inventory burden, and must accept the higher risk of missing microbial contamination.

To overcome these challenges, risks and costs, food manufacturers need a rapid microbiological screening method that is highly accurate, overcomes matrix interference, and reduces time to results while being easy to use. Hygiena’s Innovate System offer exactly that. With two unique RapiScreen™ kits, one designed specifically for low pH beverages and complex protein drinks, finished products can be sampled and tested after as little as 24-48 hours of incubation post-production.

The RapiScreen™ Beverage Kit (a complement to the RapiScreen™ Dairy Kit), utilizes a strong buffering system to neutralize tough, acidic products such as fruit juice to eliminate pH interference and optimize detection of microorganisms present as contaminants. The platform employs ATP bioluminescent technology, eliminating the need for plate incubation, reducing time to results. In addition, the system can detect contaminating growth without the need for measuring pH, a method that often misses contamination and leads to false-negatives.

As an added advantage, when paired with the Innovate System, the RapiScreen Beverage Kit can detect and quantitate levels of microorganisms that are present within 30 minutes of testing. Furthermore, up to 96 individual samples can be analyzed at one time. With results in as little as 24-48 hours, the Innovate System can detect contamination in beverage products (as well as other food and dairy products) where there is a low expectation of bio-burden, such as aseptically processed products. As an added the bonus, the Innovate System is easy to use; a simple three-step process makes test set-up easy and reduces technician handling time.


As a result of rapid detection of low levels of contamination at 24-48 hours, the cost savings for any facility is significant. While QC costs are similar, the investment in finished goods and safety stock are significantly reduced along with the warehouse space costs. In addition, appropriate product release helps prevent recall costs and protects the brand, adding significant benefit to the introduction of a rapid testing system such as the Innovate System. Learn why you should consider rapid microbial screening of your beverage products using the Innovate System.

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Date Published: 31st May 2022

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