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How to Choose the Right Environmental Sampling Medium

Posted on Mar 24, 2014 2:40:00 PM

Choosing the Right Environmental Sampling Medium

Need help determining which of our environmental sampling products is right for your specific application? Our line of ESK® environmental sampling kits are used for environmental monitoring, hygiene control, sanitization programs and bioburden determination across a range of industries, from food safety to pharmaceuticals. 

In order to ensure our ESK® sampling kits were appropriate for the varied applications of our diverse clients, we spent time in the marketplace with different end users. We studied your process, listened to your needs, then went to our R&D team to design the best environmental sampling swabs for any application. 

What we ended up with was a line of environmental sampling products suitable for a wide array of diverse applications. All of our ESK® sampling kits have a small, polyester tip attached to a quick-turn, leak resistant cap, giving you optimum control. Where they differ from one another is the four medium options we offer (all available in either 4ml or 10ml configurations), each with its own specific use: 

  • Neutralizing Buffer 
  • Buffered Peptone Water 
  • Leethen Broth 
  • Butterfield's Solution 

So which medium is right for your application? 

Neutralizing Buffer

Neutralizing Buffer is recommended for use in microbiological examination of surfaces for food and dairy products. This medium has the ability to inactivate the bacteria and bacteriostatic effect of chlorine as well as quaternary ammonium compounds. 

This means after cleaning surfaces and food equipment with disinfectants, swab samples are taken to examine the effectiveness of the disinfectants. Neutralizing buffer medium neutralizes the antibacterial effect of such disinfectants on the swabs, thus allowing the bacteria to survive if they are present.

For example, Staphylococcus aureus is commonly found in post food processing contamination, which is generally due to human contact or contaminated food contact surfaces. The presence of a large number of Staph aureus bacteria in food indicates poor handling or poor sanitation.

Buffered Peptone Water

Buffered Peptone Water is used for pre-enrichment of injured salmonella species from food specimens prior to inoculation to a selective enriched medium for isolation and identification.

When salmonella species are present in food, certain food processing conditions such as     heat, desiccation, preservatives and pH changes may injure bacteria cells. Therefore pre-enriched nonselective buffered peptone water medium allows for injured cells to repair and facilitate the recovery of salmonella. Peptone in the medium contains carbon, nitrogen, vitamins and minerals which injured cells consume to recover.

After salmonella cells are repaired and multiplied in the Buffered Peptone Water, they are transferred to a selective enriched medium for isolation and identification.

Letheen Broth

In the food and cosmetic industries, all work stations, equipment, and utensils used in daily processes are cleaned using different disinfectants. Using Letheen Broth allows manufacturers to determine the effectiveness of their cleaning program by taking swab samples of cleaned equipment.

After collection, the samples are then transferred into a tube containing Letheen Broth medium, which neutralizes the surface disinfectants, chlorine, or fluorides, facilitating an environment in which bacteria may grow. The addition of polysorbate 80 to the medium neutralizes the surface disinfectants. Lecithin is added to neutralize quaternary ammonium compounds. 

Butterfield's Solution

Butterfield's Solution is used for dilution and enumeration of microorganisms in water, food, dairy, and pharmaceutical products. When the number of bacteria in a sample is too high (and thereby difficult to enumerate), serial dilutions are prepared in tubes containing Butterfield's Solution. 

A sample from each tube is then transferred to a culture medium plate, incubated, and read after 24 hours. The plate with a bacteria count between 30-300 is selected and multiplied by the same dilution factor to obtain the number of bacteria in the original sample.

Don’t see the medium you’re looking for? We also offer custom media solutions for many applications. 

Hopefully this brief overview of the environmental sampling mediums contained in our ESK® sampling kits has given you a better idea of how to choose the right product for your specific application.

If you have any questions, or you would like to learn more about our ESK® line of environmental sampling products, don’t hesitate to contact one of our knowledgable product specialists today.

flocked-swabs-samples

Topics: Media Transport Systems, Environmental

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