Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Pharmig Guide to Bacterial Identification


Pharmig’s latest publication is a guide to bacterial identification. The guide discusses why identification is important and what needs to be identified, answering the often-challenging questions of ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘how often’?

There are several text books on identification. These, however, err towards the clinical. Texts on identification approaches for pharmaceutical microbiology are not common and guidance on understanding the appropriate level of identification is difficult to obtain.

Microbial identification represents an important part of the microbiology function. This includes screening products for objectionable organisms, profiling the environmental microbiota, and investigating out-of-limits events with a view to assigning a probable point of origin. In deciding what and when (and subsequently to what level) to identify, and by the way of which methods, requires an identification strategy. This is a document each microbiology laboratory should develop.



Many parts of pharmaceutical microbiology are outlined in compendia or in guidance documents issued by regulators; included within these are the importance of bioburden assessments of intermediate and finished products, and the need to monitor the environment using standard environmental monitoring methods. What is less clear is expectation with regards to microbial identification. For identification, there are established and emerging methods, based around the microbial phenotype or genotype, yet the choice between systems is not straightforward and the selection depends, in part, on what needs to be identified. Deciding which types of samples to identify; what level of identification is appropriate (morphology, genus, or species); and what can be done with the collected information needs careful thought.

Written by Dr. Anna Lovatt (GSK) and Dr. Tim Sandle (BPL), the guide discusses different methods for phenotypic and genotypic identification, and the latest rapid methods. Troubleshooting sections and case notes are included with each section. The guide comes with a foreword from Andrew Hopkins of the MHRA.

The reference is:

Lovatt, A. and Sandle, T. (2018) Guide to Bacterial Identification, Pharmig, Stanstead Abbotts, UK

For details contact Pharmig

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology

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