While some rapid microbiological methods (RMM) require procedure changes for sample preparation, enumeration and reporting, The Growth Direct™ System simply automates the traditional method for microbial testing. Users prepare samples using the same current process, and the technology then takes over to perform incubation, detection, enumeration, reporting, and alerting. Following are the five tasks The Growth DirectTM System automates – tasks that are typically performed manually in a micro QC lab.
1. Incubation Transfers During Serial Incubation
Once microbiologists prepare the samples, they simply place them into the Growth Direct™ System. The system contains two incubators that can be set for different temperatures and internal robotics that will transfer the samples between incubators at the time required by the assay. In labs performing serial incubation, microbiologists no longer have to manually move samples, and any issues related to transfers become virtually nonexistent.
2. Detection and Enumeration
Using proven charge-coupled device (CCD) technology, the Growth DirectTM System “sees” colony growth at as little as around 100 cells. Advanced algorithms accurately count both small and large numbers of CFUs. By contrast the human eye typically needs 5 x 106 cells to be able to see a colony, requiring longer incubation times. This advantage allows the Growth Direct™ System to provide comparable results to the traditional method in about half the time and to identify positive growth within hours.
3. Interim Counts
As part of its detection and enumeration processing, the Growth DirectTM System performs counts at pre-defined intervals of a few hours. This means that an interim count on a sample is regularly available and easily accessible by the laboratory or other stakeholders without the need to use resources to remove, count, report and replace samples. Microbiologists or manufacturing personnel can simply read the data. Ultimately, this capability saves time and can allow for faster product release.
As part of microbial QC testing, microbiologists must read and record counts for all samples, even those that display no growth. This can be a time-consuming process and has the potential for keying or transcription errors that could generate an investigation. On the other hand, the Growth DirectTM System automates the reading and recording of counts, produces easy to read reports, and has configurable alert and action limits that can notify users of potential problem samples. Ultimately, the system's automated capabilities cut down on both recording errors and the investigations that would normally follow.
5. Data Transfer
Finally, the Growth DirectTM System can integrate with users' existing laboratory information systems (LIMs), eliminating the need to transfer or re-key data. This integration provides stakeholders beyond the QC lab with regular access to sample information and test results. In addition, this integration improves communication between the QC lab and production areas.
The Growth DirectTM System has revolutionized colony enumeration by automating major microbiological tests. To learn more about the equipment's capabilities, contact us today!