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.
The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Program is a new approach for monitoring the safety of food and food products, and the suitability and sterility of manufacturing processes and facilities. Regulatory agencies in both Canada and the United States continue revising and improving regulations concerning the quality and safety of food by incorporating stringent regulatory programs or standards such as HACCP, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and ISO 9000.
PBR offers HACCP implementation programs and comprehensive microbiological services using standard testing protocols and applying new rapid screening methods to restaurants, food manufacturers, retailers, dairy, meatpacking and beverage plants and other food sector industries.
Sterility audit is an integral part of GMP and HACCP and is routinely carried out to maintain a required level of sanitary conditions and sterile environment in a manufacturing facility or plant. Evaluation of microbial contamination of equipment, indoor air, critical areas, counter tops and working surfaces in the plant is essential to ensure standard quality and safety of both raw ingredients and finished food products. Specific microbial tests for sterility and sanitation audit are listed in the following table.
As defined by the UK Institute of Food Science and Technology, shelf-life represents the period of time during which the food product will remain, safe; retain its desired sensory, chemical, physical, microbiological and functional characteristics.
PBR offers microbiological shelf-life testing with all applicable tests including challenge testing. In addition, PBR works closely with customers in planning the shelf-life studies of their products. Generally, the factors considered are: desired shelf-life durations; short (up to one week), medium (up to three weeks) or long (up to one year); safety considerations; storage conditions; and controlled conditions that mimic those the product is likely to encounter during storage.
PBR offers routine Real Time Shelf Life (RSL) as well as, where applicable, accelerated shelf life (ASL) testing for longer shelf-life products. Some selected tests are listed in the table below.
Nutritional Labelling includes analyses for nutritional fact parameters, including, carbohydrates, fats, cholestrol, proteins, diatary fibers, sugars and various mineral nutrients. We also offer nutritional analysis based on calculated values from the ingradients contained in a given Recipe.
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 provides rental equipment, sampling materials, supplies, and offers advice for proper tests and procedures if clients are qualified to do the sampling. However, it is recommended that clients involve PBR’s qualified staff in designing the sampling scheme and protocol to ensure the relevance of the laboratory results to the problem under investigation.
PBR offers complete analytical services for microbiological quality assessment and characterization of agricultural and contaminated soils based on the tests listed in the following table. These tests and parameters are useful in determining the level and source of microbiological contamination as applicable to environmental impact assessment, soil bioremediation, and soil fertility evaluation.
NOTE: For chemical analysis of soil, please look for Soil Quality Test under Chemical/Environmental services.
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.
PBR provides specific testing services to determine and evaluate the anti-microbial activity and efficacy of various products, as well as to ascertain the level of bacterial and fungal contamination (product sterility). Most commonly tested products include, pharmaceuticals, probiotics, consumer and industrial products.
Efficiacy and Sterility microbiological tests are performed using Standards and Protocols of the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP), Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB), Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC), International, American Society of Testing Materials (ASTM) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Antimicrobial Agents: We provide MIC (Minimum Inhibitory Concentration) testing of pharmaceutical products, using standard protocols.
Sanitizers and Disinfectants: We offer efficacy testing using standard microbial cultures and recommened based test methods on applicable guidelines.
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.
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