Significance and Use
This guide should be used by producers and potential producers of nonconventional tests to determine the accuracy, selectivity, specificity, and reproducibility of the tests, as defined in Practices E 691 and D 3870. Results of such studies should identify the limitations and indicate the utility or applicability of the nonconventional test, or both, for use on different types of samples.
Nonconventional test users and potential users should employ this guide to evaluate results of the nonconventional test as compared to their present methods. Practices D 5245 and D 5465 should be reviewed in regards to the conventional microbiological methods employed. If conventional methods have not been used for monitoring the systems, then guidelines are included for obtaining microbiological expertise.
Utilization of a nonconventional test may reduce the time required to determine the microbiological status of the system and enable an improvement in the overall operating efficiency. In many cases, the findings of a significantly high level of bacteria indicates the need for an addition of an antimicrobial agent. By accurately determining this in a shorter time period than by conventional methods, treatment with antimicrobial agents may circumvent more serious problems than if the treatment were postponed until conventional results were available. If the antimicrobial treatment program relies on an inaccurate nonconventional test, then unnecessary loss of product and problems associated with inappropriate selection or improper dosing with antimicrobial agents would exist.
Since many methods based on entirely different chemical and microbiological principles are considered, it is not possible to establish a unique design and recommend a specific method of statistical analyses for the comparisons to be made. It is only possible to present guides that should be followed while performing the experiments. It is also recommended that a statistician be involved in the study.
1.1 The purpose of this guide is to assist users and producers of nonconventional tests in determining the applicability of the test for processing different types of samples and evaluating the accuracy of the results. Conventional procedures such as the Heterotrophic (Standard) Plate Count, the Most Probable Number (MPN) method and the Spread Plate Count are widely cited and accepted for the enumeration of microorganisms. However, these methods have their limitations, such as performance time and degree of accuracy. It is these limitations that have recently led to the marketing of a variety of non-conventional procedures, test kits and instruments.
1.2 A conventional test is one that is widely accepted and published as a standard microbiological method or related procedure. A new, nonconventional test method will attempt to provide the same information through the measurement of a different parameter. This guide is designed to assist investigators in assessing the accuracy and precision of nonconventional methods intended for the determination of microbial population densities or activities.
1.3 It is recognized that the Heterotrophic Plate Count does not recover all microorganisms present in a product or a system (1, 2). When this problem occurs during the characterization of a microbiological population, alternative standard enumeration procedures may be necessary, as in the case of sulfate-reducing bacteria. At other times, chemical methods that measure the rates of appearance of metabolic derivatives or the utilization of contaminated product components might be indicated. In evaluating nonconventional tests, the use of these alternative standard procedures may be the only means available for establishing correlation. In such cases, this guide can serve as a reference for those considerations.
1.4 Since there are so many types of tests that could be considered nonconventional, it is impossible to recommend a specific test protocol with statistical analyses for evaluating the tests. Instead, this guide should assist in determining what types of tests should be considered to verify the utility and identify the limitations of the nonconventional test.
2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.
D3870 Practice for Establishing Performance Characteristics for Colony Counting Methods in Microbiology
D4012 Test Method for Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) Content of Microorganisms in Water
D5245 Practice for Cleaning Laboratory Glassware, Plasticware, and Equipment Used in Microbiological Analyses
D5465 Practice for Determining Microbial Colony Counts from Waters Analyzed by Plating Methods
E691 Practice for Conducting an Interlaboratory Study to Determine the Precision of a Test Method
Accuracy assessment; Antimicrobial formulations/testing; Bacteria/bacterial control; Heterotrophic plate count procedure; Microbiological examination; Nonconventional testing procedures; Reproducibility; Sampling biological materials; Selectivity;
ICS Number Code 07.100.10 (Medical microbiology)
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Citing ASTM Standards
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