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27th January 2014  Content supplied by: Seward

Sponge Swab and Stomacher Technique for Large Surface Area Sampling

A recent study looking at the monitoring of Acinetobacter baumannii in a clinical environment has confirmed the effectiveness of the combined sponge swab and Stomacher sampling methodology for sampling a large surface area. This sampling method uses sponge swabs pre-dosed with buffer to swab a surface and then, to recover the micro flora, the sponge swabs are processed in a Seward Stomacher® 400 Circulator. A number of suppliers offer pre-manufactured sampling devices such as 3M® and Technical Services Consultants Ltd, which work very effectively in Stomacher products. The sponge and Stomacher technique allows a greater surface area to be tested than can be achieved with just a swab head. Various different approaches can be applied, processing either pooled samples in the Stomacher® 400 or individual swabs in the Stomacher® 80 Biomaster.

Due to the efficacy of the Stomacher and sponge swab combination, it has also been adopted in more critical fields such as biosecurity. Security services on both sides of the Atlantic have recently adopted the technique to detect and monitor the potential spread of weaponised bacterial contaminates such as Bacillus anthracis.


1) Thom K.A. et al.. Comparison of swab and sponge methodologies for identification of Acinetobacter baumannii from the hospital environment. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 2012, 50(6):2140.

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Date Published: 27th January 2014

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