The versatility of 2nd Generation ATP monitoring technology enables it to be applied to a wide range of situations involving many sample types in many industries, from anaerobic sludge to paint products to ultra-purified water. While each of these sample types have their own unique challenges, there are many questions that we are often asked that transcend every industry and situation that we cover:
1. What can I do with a total biomass measurement?
The value of a total biomass measurement depends on the industry at hand, but with the exception of biological wastewater treatment (more on that later), knowing the total amount of microbiological content answers the question “Am I in control?”. If results indicate a low level of microbial content as compared to our suggested targets or a site-specific baseline, the situation can be considered to be one of low risk. However, if results indicate a significant increase outside of the target range, something has changed to allow this additional growth to occur, thus indicating that measures taken to control microbial growth are unsuccessful. The added benefit of ATP results being available immediately means that action can be taken immediately to isolate the root cause of the situation and solve it. Also, unlike total counts as measured via culture-based methods, ATP measurements truly represent the total population since all living cells contain ATP whereas culture tests are only able to detect those cells that grow in the conditions provided (typically 0.1-1% of the total population).
When discussing wastewater treatment, this information is valuable in a very different way. While microbial growth control programs seeks to minimize the amount of biomass present, biological wastewater treatment processes intend to maintain a certain population to ensure that adequate treatment is achieved. This trend can also compared to key process variables to observe the impact of process changes and adjust if needed. More information on this can be found here.
2. Can you isolate specific types of microbes?
Culture-based techniques isolate specific types of cells through the use of special growth media. ATP tests target all cells, so they typically are not able to pick out specific microbes from the whole. However, LuminUltra has developed and fully validated a method (Differential QGO-M) to differentiate bacteria from fungi in metalworking fluids and industrial lubricants. In addition, it has been promising when applied to surface water sources when seeking to isolate algae from smaller organisms.
3. Does this replace my compliance tests?
ATP tests are not, nor will they likely ever be, intended to replace compliance tests as mandated by regulatory bodies. However, they can serve as somewhat of an insurance policy to minimize the chance of non-compliance. By revealing problems at a much earlier stage in addition to problems that might otherwise go unnoticed altogether, they can be resolve much sooner, thereby preventing issues from becoming worse.
4. Is this available as an online/automated method?
Not yet, but we have identified this as a priority for future product development.
5. Can you use this to test ______?
We have been approached by many people from varied situations who have sought a better/faster way to control biological growth in their industry. In many cases, these challenges were a first for LuminUltra but through rigorous method development and validations, we have launched new products to apply to new situations. When LuminUltra was originally founded, wastewater treatment was the only application that we focused on but through working with inquiring customers in other situations, we have expanded our suite of test protocols to include situations where we had never dreamed of in the beginning. We take great pride in this flexibility and are committed to work on other unique opportunities in the future.
Have some other questions that you’re curious to know the answers to regarding our technology or how it’s applied to situations such as yours? We want to hear from you – contact us and a member of our team will be in contact with you shortly.