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A Simple Method for the Comparison of Commercially Available ATP Hygiene-Monitoring Systems

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The purpose of this study was to evaluate a methodology which could easily be used in any test laboratory in a uniform and consistent way for determining the sensitivity and reproducibility of results obtained with three ATP hygiene-monitoring systems. The test protocol discussed here allows such comparisons to be made, thereby establishing a method of benchmarking both new systems and developments of existing systems. The sensitivity of the LUMINOMETER K, PocketSwab (Charm Sciences) was found to be between 0.4 and 4.0 nmol of ATP with poor reproducibility at the 40.0 nmol level (CV, 35%). The sensitivity of the IDEXX LIGHTNING system and the Biotrace UNILITE Xcel were both between 0.04 and 0.4 nmol with coefficients of variation (CVs) of between 9% at 0.04 nmol and 10% at 0.4 nmol for the IDEXX system and 17% at 0.04 nmol and 21 % at 0.4 nmol for the Biotrace system. The three systems were tested with a range of dilutions of different food residues: orange juice, raw milk, and ground beef slurry. All three test systems allowed detection of orange juice and raw milk at dilutions of 1:1,000, although the CV of results from the Charm system (54 and 74% respectively) was poor at this dilution for both residues. The sensitivity of the test systems was poorer for ground beef slurry than it was for orange juice and raw milk. Both the Bio trace and IDEXX systems were able to detect a 1:100 dilution of beef slurry (with CVs of 17 and 10% respectively), whilst at this dilution results from the Charm system had a CV of 55%. It was possible by using the method described in this paper to rank in order of sensitivity and reproducibility the three single-shot ATP hygiene-monitoring systems investigated, with the IDEXX LIGHTNING being the best, followed by the Biotrace UNILITE Xcel, and then the Charm LUMINOMETER K, PocketSwab.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Thames Water Utilities Ltd, Development Microbiology, Spencer House Laboratory, Manor Farm Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG2 OJN, UK

Publication date: April 1, 1998

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