PBR offers microbiological testing services using the methods approved by regulatory agencies such as CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) Health Canada and USDA-FSIS (United States Department of Agriculture-Food Safety and Inspection Service). PBR strives to apply the most advanced analytical methods or technologies such as PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), immunoassays, rapid microbial identification system (VITEK 2) and Biolog Gen III.
A list of selected microbiological analyses for the detection, enumeration and identification of aerobic & anaerobic bacteria, the yeast and mold and specific pathogens is given in the following table.
PBR offers complete analytical services for microbiological quality assessment and characterization of potable/drinking water for human consumption, health risk assessment, mortgage approvals, and treatment plant effectiveness. PBR also provides testing services for wastewater, effluent, sewage, sludge and surface and recreational waters for the assessment of microbiological contamination and potential environmental and public health impacts. Specific microbiological tests for these matrices are listed in the following Table.
NOTE: For chemical analysis of waste water and drinking water, please look for Water Quality Tests under Chemical/Environmental services.
Airborne mold, bacteria and other microorganism are known to cause asthma, hypersensitivity, allergic reactions, toxic effects and other disease manifestations in humans. The monitoring of the indoor air and environment for the presence and level of microbial contamination is therefore of paramount significance particularly for evaluating potential adverse health effects.
Comprehensive microbiological monitoring of indoor environment begins with a walkthrough survey for assessing the nature and extent of the problem and developing a monitoring strategy. This is followed by collection of indoor air samples; surface sampling; and bulk sampling of household dust, wood, carpets, and any materials suspected to have mold contamination. In addition, water samples from drip pans, humidifiers and air conditioners may also be collected as part of the surveillance strategy.
The main objectives of monitoring indoor environment and air quality include, determination of the presence and level of mold and bacterial contamination, estimation of predominant molds, identification at genus and species level, and determination of contamination source for undertaking remedial actions.
PBR provides interpretation of test results based on the guidelines and exposure standards (limits) of relevant national and international organizations. These include: Health Canada, American Conference of Government Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), European Union (EU) and World Health Organization (WHO). A list of specific tests is given in the table below.
PBR offers specialized testing for the presence and level of microorganisms that are of significance in diverse environmental and industrial processes and systems, including cooling towers. These involve microorganisms that are responsible for biological corrosion, biofouling, biofilm (slime) formation and other health hazards.
Corrosion, Biofouling and Biofilm microorganisms
Corrosion and clogging of iron and steel pipes can occur due to the growth of microorganisms such as iron related bacteria (IRB’s) and sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB’s).
Biofouling is the undesirable accumulation of microorganisms, plants or algae on surfaces and structures that are in contact with water for a period of time. The three most important agents involved in biofouling are IRB’s, SRB’s, and Heterotrophic Aerobic Bacteria (HAB’s).
Biofilm is an aggregate of diverse microorganisms in which cells adhere to each other on a surface. These adherent cells are generally embedded within a self-produced matrix of extracellular polymeric substances, which are also referred to as slime. Biofilms may form on living or non-living surfaces and can be prevalent in natural, hospital, industrial and wastewater settings.
Presence of Legionella species in cooling towers, air conditioners, humidifiers and drip pans is a major health concern.
PBR can provide microbial consortia capable of degrading harmful contaminants in the treatment of industrial effluents and contaminated soils. PBR also provides testing for hydrocarbon utilizing bacteria and nitrogen cycle bacteria. Specific tests and parameters for all of the above matrices and processes are listed in the following Table.
The genus and species level identification of microorganisms present in food, air, water, soil and other matrices is essential for the safety evaluation and assessment of potential health hazards, as well as for the required regulatory compliance and approval.
PBR provides comprehensive microbiological services for the identification of non-pathogenic and pathogenic bacteria, mold and yeast in food, water, air, soil and other environmental samples. Generally, both bacteria and fungi are identified to the genus level, but species, strain and serotype levels identification is provided if and as required.
Basic microbiological techniques, microscopic examination, biochemical methods and specific automated systems are used for the genus and species level identification of bacteria, yeast and mold present and detected in diverse samples. PBR employs state-of-the art PCR technology, VITEK 2 automated system (from BioMerieux) and Biolog Gen III that provide highly accurate and reproducible results for the identification of microorganism that are of clinical, hygienic and environmental significance.