Sterility Checks

We perform sterility checks on raw materials, finished products, as well as water used in production processes. We tests samples collected from production lines during hygiene audits.
During sterility checks we evaluate the level of contamination caused by aerobic bacteria, filamentous fungi (mould) and yeasts. We can define exactly the titre of contamination. Upon clients request we test samples to identify specific groups of microorganisms. We also perform test for contamination caused by anaerobic bacteria.

Microbiological "In-Can" Challenge Tests

"In-can" challenge tests are performed to assess the preservation effectiveness of the finished product against microbial growth. The choice of the effective biocidal preservative is crucial to maintain the stability of the finished product and to achieve a sufficient shelf life. Thus assessment of the preservation effectiveness in the formulation is extremely important. Results obtained in challenge tests are crucial to choose the appropriate biocidal product (effective at a specific pH and without reacting with other components) in the right concentration necessary for the adequate preservation of the product.

For different types of products (e.g. construction and building materials, household products and personal care cosmetics) we use specifically designed "in-can" challenge test methods. Upon client request we can perform challenge test according to individual requirements, e.g. in line with internal, non-standardized research procedures.

The proper selection of concentration of type of preservative is necessary for:

  • Lowering costs of production.
  • Verification of declared expiration date.
  • Avoiding labeling product as irritant (which is required in case of high concentrations of preservatives).

Individually Designed Microbiological "In-Can" Challenge Tests

From our experience we are aware that not every formulation can be tested with common research standards. We are open to our customers’ needs and we approach each problem individually.
For certain specific products, formulations or technological products, we offer our clients individually designed challenge tests. We can use microorganisms grown from raw materials used in production or contaminants on the production line. Prior to beginning of the tests, samples can be treated with high or low temperature, depending on the transport and storage conditions of products.

Dry-film challenge tests

Plasters, facade paints and paints for special applications (e.g, "Kitchen and Bathroom"), are products in which dry film preservatives are used. Dry film preservatives have different effect than “in-can” – it becomes active after layer of paint or plaster is applied and dries up. Dry film preservatives are designed to preserve the surface against microbial (fungal and algal) growth. Effectiveness of the dry film preservation depends on type and concentration of the biocide. However the durability of the product can also be affected by the formulation of the paint or plaster itself as the leaching of the preservatives may occur during rain or washing the walls.

We have a designed a system specifically for leaching samples. Specially designed cycles of rinsing paint or plaster coats with water simulate the processes that occur naturally. The tests carried out on samples after leaching allow to assess the extent to which the product will be resistant to the growth of mould and algae even several years after application.

In our laboratory we perform dry film challenge tests of water-based paints and plasters. In our test methods we use specially selected fungi and algae strains. The results for each material can be determined using our photographic documentation library.

Liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis

AM Solutions offers High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) analysis. We analyze the level of “in-can” and “dry film” biocides content in different products. By using a number of methods to determine different types of active substances: Isothiazolinones (CMIT, MIT, BIT, mBIT, OIT, DCOIT), IPBC, Diuron, Carbendazim, Terbutryn, Bronopol, Parabens, Phenoxyethanol, Formaldehyde and Glutaraldehyde.

We offer analyses of the final products and raw materials used in production. The obtained results allow our customers to confirm the content of each biocidal compound in their final product, providing better quality control over the concentration of biocides (some of the raw materials contain certain amounts of biocides that are not considered in the final product). We have extensive experience in analyzing samples that are difficult to extract, such as paints and plasters. Using HPLC techniques we also analyze biocide contents in dry coatings of paints and plasters.

Tests for antimicrobial activity and efficacy

Our microbiological laboratory offers antimicrobial activity and efficacy of surfaces tests. Tests are performed in compliance with EN ISO 22196 which is based on the Japanese industrial standard JIS Z 2801. Tests of antibacterial properties of the material are carried out using bacterial species included in the above standards, i.e. Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Taking into consideration our client needs, we can use other bacterial species and strains, for instance those characterized by increased resistance to antibiotics.

Accelerated aging test of paints, plasters and other materials

Resistance to prolonged exposure to weathering has a significant impact on the quality of paint, plaster or other finishing materials.

Our laboratory has advanced equipment for aging such materials. During aging tests, samples can be subjected to alternating high and low temperature, various levels of humidity, perfused with water and exposed to UV radiation to imitate sunlight.

After the specified number of aging cycles, samples may be subjected to further microbiological or application tests. These tests allow for a better prediction of microbiological resistance on the tested material and to estimate weathering influence on color change.

Colour and gloss measurement

The exact colour and gloss are extremely important characteristics of quality paint products. The accurate assessment of colour and its changes can be very difficult to assess for the human eye. Using high-tech equipment, we perform colour and gloss measurements of different materials. The results are presented as numbers according to most common international colour standards such as CIELab, Lch, FMC2, Lab00, Lch99.

Colour measurement procedure is based on EN ISO, DIN and ASTM standards. At our laboratory we can measure colour of liquid products (e.g. pigment pastes and paints).

Efficacy tests for registration purposes

Biocides are used in different products as preservatives in order to protect them against the growth of microorganisms. Every biocidal substance used as preservative, before marketing authorisation, is subject to mandatory professional registration by Office for Registration of Medicinal Products, Medical Devices and Biocides (Urząd Rejestracji Produktów Leczniczych, Wyrobów Medycznych i Produktów Biobójczych). Among the documents necessary for registration of the product the microbiological research report evaluating the efficacy of the biocide as a preservative is required. Our laboratory carries out testing according to the methodology notified and approved by the Registration Office, and our test reports are accepted by the Office.

Microorganisms identification

AM Solutions laboratory offers services for the identification of microorganisms. Identification to species level is performed by MALDI-TOF or by DNA sequencing. In MALDI-TOF method surface proteins are analyzed using mass spectrometry technique. Obtained unique structure results are compared with comprehensive database of clinically and industrially relevant species of microorganisms.
In DNA sequencing methods (notified as reference standard) DNA specific for each species, coding 16S rDNA (for bacteria) and 18S rDNA (for eukaryotic organisms) are analysed. The obtained DNA sequence is compared with databases and the tested organism is assigned to a particular species.

On request, after isolating and identifying specific microorganisms our laboratory may retain them and use them later in individually planned tests.

Molecular biology testing for microbiology

Our experience in molecular microbiology and our modern, well equipped laboratory allows us to provide a range of molecular testing services that can support local microbiology laboratories (e.g. production line quality control). We offer molecular typing services and the identification of gene sequences in microorganisms using PCR, PCR-RFLP and DNA sequencing techniques.
We also support our customers by developing individual test methods for their specific needs.
Because of the unique nature of microbiological problems occurring in different environments, production lines and products, the tests using molecular biology methods are usually designed individually for each specific issue.