The most commonly used standard to test water quality has been the Coliform test. Coliform is an indicator species, meaning that the Coliform test assumes that if Coliform is present in water that there is a likelyhood that pathogens may be present also. Indicator tests such as this are used instead of more specific tests because they are less expensive. Since there are dozens of potential water borne bacteria that are harmful it becomes prohibitively expensive to test for all dangerous species individually.
Another common water test is for E-coli presence. This is a specific test for a single species.
The Total Microbe test will indicate presence/absence and activity level of any aerobic and facultative bacteria, fungi, yeast and mold (spores), non-specifically. This means it acts as a general or universal test that will detect any microbial presence but like the Coliform test does not identify the specific bacteria, only that you have a problem. Similar to the Coliform test, additional testing is required to determine the actual species.
The Total Microbe water test will pick up species that the Coliform and E-coli tests do not. For example, you could run an E-coli test that shows negative but the sample could contain a high level of Giardia that goes undetected. We feel that the Total Microbe test is the best general purpose water test on the market. It lets you know you have a problem quickly, accurately and inexpensively.
The Total Microbe test can best be compared to a laboratory test that uses Petri dishes that contain agar that performs what is known as a “heterotrophic” plate count. The test takes 48 hours to run. The Total Microbe test provides a 98% accurate correlation to this test and takes between 4-24 hours to complete.
Micro Inspector Products
The Micro Inspector product line is designed for the do-it yourself consumer marketplace as a simple way for the homeowner to get a quick, inexpensive answer to his concerns about water, food or indoor air quality.
This product line offers 3 biological tests: Coliform, E-coli and Total Microbe. Coliform is the most common test for water potability and E-coli is commonly tested for in both water and food environments. The Total Microbe test is a general purpose heterotrophic screen for the presence of any/all aerobic and facultative bacteria, yeast and fungi. Often when testing for a specific bacteria, other pathenogenic bacteria are missed. This test indicates any microbial presence, non-specifically. Further testing at a lab can indicate species.
In addition to the biological tests, the Micro Inspector line includes 6 chemical tests. These tests indicate presence and quantity of specific chemicals in water and take only minutes to run. The tests are: Ammonia Nitrogen, Chlorine DPD, Hardness Level, Iron, Phosphate Ortho-WR and Zinc. Also offered is a Nitrate/Nitrite Test Strip. Nitrate/Nitrite is the most common water chemical test and is important because high levels are unsafe for babies and pregnant women, causing Blue Baby Syndrome.
Micro Tester Pro Products
The Micro Tester Pro product line is our professional line for users that conduct many tests. Biological test kits come with 8 or 30 ampoules to a box and chemical tests 30 to a box. Typical users are governments, schools, businesses, HVAC professionals, food industry quality control workers, water providers and testers, and environmental consultants.
The Micro Tester Pro line offers the same biological tests as the Micro Inspector line as well as tests for Sulfur Reducing Bacteria, Total Sulfur Bacteria and Iron Bacteria.
In addition, testing can be automated using our AutoAnalyzer instrument. This spectropho-tometer can be used as a stand-alone instrument that provides reading measurements or it can be combined with QC Bacterial Growth Analysis System software residing on a connected PC that can batch process up to 50 tests or do individual fully automatic tests. The software can store, search, sort and export data.
Food handling surfaces and air duct, vent and filter surfaces can be sampled and tested when used in conjunction with the Dry Surface and Food Sampler kits that compliment our test ampoules.