Friday, August 28, 2009

A new PMEU application: quantitative MPN analyses of microbial counts

PMEU method is based on the rapid cultivations of several samples. The old idea to apply it in MPN (Most Probable Number) analyses has now proven to be correct: referring the Finnish Standard Book "SFS-KÄSIKIRJA 94: Mikrobiologiset vesitutkimusmenetelmät" (Methods for Microbiological Water Analysis) and discussions with specialists, PMEU can be used as an alternative, rapid method instead of the traditional technique, tube series in water bath or in an incubator. PMEU itself works as an incubator with a temperature deviation of < 0.1 oC.

A combination of 4 (levels of dilutions) * 5 (repeats) allows to follow the Finnish standard SFS 4447 (The Tube Method in Microbiological Water Analysis) as well as standards derived of it like SFS-EN ISO 9308-3 (for and coliforms) and SFS-EN ISO 7899-1 (for enterococci). Standards usually give MPN tables in the framework of 3*5 tubes (eg. for dilutions from 0 to 0.01) but PMEU gives an extra level (eg. 0 to 0.001) which covers a wider range of microbial counts. Samples with unknown levels of microbial densities are therefore easier to analyse correctly.

It seems that the leading status of membrane filtration has revised today. There are types of samples which are difficult or impossible to analyse with them (too much suspended solids etc.) and tube tests like MPN should be chosen. PMEU Tube Tests should be preferred also in situations where fast results (in hours, compared with days with colony count analyses) are needed.

The microbiological control of certain paper industry samples (pulp slurries,starches, minerals) are better to perform with tube methods. An example of the priority of the tube methods can be seen when samples with polymers should be analyzed: polymers tend to stuck membranes immiadely but do not prevent any analyses performed with tube methods. Rapid detection of harmful or hazardous bacteria can also be done faster with selective broths than in/on selective agars.