Sample Collection

Click on the links below to view sample collection protocols

If you have any questions, please call 724-853-4047

 

USP <797> & Legionella

USP <797>
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USP <797> refers to chapter 797 "Pharmaceutical Compounding - Sterile Preparations," in the USP National Formulary.  This chapter describes the guidelines, procedures, and compliance requirements for compounding sterile preparations. An environmental monitoring program for sterile compounding facilities includes nonviable and viable airborne particulates and surface sampling (equipment, work surfaces, room surfaces). Additional microbiologic monitoring of personnel is also required, including media-fill testing and gloved fingertip sampling. USP <797> is currently in revision.  The information presented here is based on the current (2008) guidelines.
Sample: Air, contact/surface, & fingertip plates
Method: Quantitative culture for bacteria and fungi using appropriate media. The concentrations of viable organisms are expressed as colony forming units per cubic meter (CFU/m3) of air (air plate) or CFU/plate (contact, fingertip plates).
Certification: AIHA-LAP, LLC #103009; ISO 17025
Collection:
Air samples
  • Viable airborne particles (bioaerosols) are collected with an impaction sampler, such as the Surface to Air Sampler (SAS).  A dual-head or single-head sampler is acceptable.  SAS 180 and 360 samplers are available for rent.  Please click here for Rental Agreement.
  • Microbiological growth media used for sampling must support the growth of bacteria and fungi.  For dual-head sampling, tryptic soy agar (TSA) and inhibitory mold agar (IMA), may be used for bacteria and fungi, respectively. For single-head sampling, TSA is recommended.
  • Recommended sampling time is 5-10 minutes at 100 to 180 liters of air/minute (total volume of 1000 liters).
Surface samples
  • Contact (Rodac) agar plates are used for surface sampling.  These include TSA agar with Lecithin and Polysorbate 80 for bacteria and Sabouraud dextrose agar with Lecithin and Polysorbate 80 for fungi.  These additives are necessary to neutralize the effects of disinfecting agents.
  • Select a flat surface area for sampling.
  • Wearing gloves, remove and hold the agar plate lid with one hand, keeping it sterile.
  • With the opposite hand, firmly press the surface of the agar onto the selected area.  Pressure should be the same for every sample. DO NOT MOVE THE PLATE LATERALLY; this will cause confluent bacterial growth and dramatically reduce the resolution of the colonies.
  • With a vertical motion, remove the contact plate from the surface and replace the lid.
Gloved fingertip samples
  • TSA agar with Lecithin and Polysorbate 80 is recommended.
  • Collect fingertip and thumb samples by gently pressing each into the agar.
Shipping:
  • Clearly label each sample with a Sample Number and complete the Chain of Custody (COC).
  • Seal the rim of agar plate with electrical tape and place in a Ziploc bag in a box with sufficient packing material to prevent damage, along with the completed COC form.
  • Ship samples at ambient temperature Monday through Friday for receipt within 24 hours of collection.
Legionella
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Sample: Potable and non-potable water collected in sterile bottles with sodium thiosulfate; swabs; air Method: Quantitative culture performed according to ISO 11731:2017 method.  Species identification by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry; serogrouping of L. pneumophila as serogroup 1 or 2-14
Certification: New York ELAP #12055, CDC ELITE program, AIHA-LAP, LLC #103009; ISO 17025
Turn-around-time: 7-8 days
Collection: U.S. Micro-Solutions, Inc. provides free sterile screw-cap bottles with sodium thiosulfate neutralizer and free swabs. Call 724-853-4047 for details.

Faucets & Showerheads: If collecting swab and water samples, perform the swab collection first.
     Swab:
    • Remove the aerator from the faucet if present.
    • Allow hot water to briefly trickle through the faucet opening or showerhead to moisten the outlet. Turn off water.
    • Faucet: insert a sterile swab into the faucet and rotate four times while moving swab upward into the opening as far as it will go.
    • Showerhead: Rotate the swab four times over the entire surface of the showerhead.
    • Insert the swab into plastic transport sleeve.
    Water:
    • Turn on hot water and immediately collect 100 mL in a sterile plastic bottle with sodium thiosulfate.​
    • Fasten lid tightly and invert bottles to mix.
Drinking Fountains:
  • Rotate the swab in and around the orifice of the fountain several times.
  • Insert the swab into plastic transport sleeve.
  • A 100 mL water sample may also be collected in a sterile plastic bottle with neutralizer.
Ice Machines:​​
  • Collect ice in two sterile plastic bottles with sodium thiosulfate.
  • Fasten lids tightly.
  • If a water dispenser is part of the machine, collect a swab and water sample as per faucet directions above.
Hot Water Storage Tank:
  • Label two sterile plastic bottles with sodium thiosulfate as "Pre-flush" and "Post-flush".
  • Open the drain valve at the base of the storage tank and immediately collect 100 mL of water into the sterile bottle labeled "Pre-flush".
  • Allow the water to flow for another 15-30 seconds and collect a second sample into the sterile bottle labeled "Post-flush".
  • Fasten lids tightly and invert bottles to mix.
  • This technique insures that the samples represent both the tank contents and residual water within the drain pipe.
Cooling Towers & Reservoirs:
  • Collect a 100 mL sample of water from reservoir or condensation pan by submerging an open sterile plastic bottle with sodium thiosulfate just under the surface of the water.  Avoid collecting excessive sediment. Samples may be collected from the basin, sump, and/or make-up water.
  • Fasten lid tightly and invert bottle to mix.
  • Sanitize the outside of the bottle with an alcohol wipe to prevent cross-contamination of samples.
  • If collecting samples from more than one location, wear disposable gloves and change after each sample.
Decorative Fountains, Whirlpools, Hot Tubs, etc:
  • Turn off jets/spouts and submerge an open sterile plastic bottle with sodium thiosulfate just under the surface of the water and collect a 100 mL sample.
  • Fasten lid tightly and invert bottle to mix.
  • Swab samples may be collected from jets or spouts and along the water line or areas where biofilm is noticeable. Samples of the filter may also be collected.
Shipping:
  • Clearly label each sample with a Sample Number and complete the Chain of Custody (COC).
  • Place samples in Ziploc bags and pack in a box with sufficient packing material to keep samples from shifting during transport.
  • Insert the completed COC form into a plastic sleeve or Ziploc bag and place in box.
  • Ship samples Monday through Friday for receipt within 24 hours of collection.
    • If necessary, samples may be refrigerated (4-8oC) overnight.
    • Samples from New York State must be received within 24 hours of collection.​
  • Ship samples overnight Monday through Friday. Shipments on Fridays must be sent by Priority Overnight Saturday Delivery.

Indoor Environmental Quality

Bioaerosol Culture (Viable Air Sample)
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Sample: Air collected with an impactor sample, such as Andersen N6
Method: Quantitative culture using appropriate media for bacteria and/or fungi.  The concentrations of viable organisms are expressed as colony forming units per cubic meter (CFU/m3) of air
Certification: AIHA-LAP, LLC #103009; ISO 17025
Turn-around-time: 5-10 days; up to 6 weeks for mycobacteria
Collection: Andersen N6 and SAS 180/360 air samplers are available for rent. Please click here for Rental Agreement.
  • Calibrate equipment immediately prior to sampling.
  • Use appropriate sampling media (see table above).
  • Use aseptic technique throughout the collection process.
  • Label the agar plate lid with the sample number.
    • Do not use masking tape for the label.
    • Agar media should be at room temperature before sampling.
    • Do not touch agar surface.
  • Sampling durations of 2-10 minutes (56.6-283 total liters) are commonly used.
    • Heavily contaminated areas (visible fungal growth) may be sampled for a shorter time, e.g. 3-5 minutes.
    • Areas with low levels of contamination (pharmacy rooms, clean rooms, remediated areas) may be sampled for a longer duration.
  • Collect an indoor sample from an unaffected area to serve as a control.
  • Collect a representative outdoor sample to provide a reference for determining whether certain fungi are being amplified in the indoor environment.
  • Submit a blank unexposed agar plate with each sampling event to serve as a negative control.
  • Replace lids on all agar plates and seal the perimeters of the plates with electrical tape.
    • Do not use Scotch tape or duct tape.
Shipping:​
  • Clearly label each sample with a Sample Number and complete the Chain of Custody (COC).
  • Place sealed plates in a Ziploc bag in a box with sufficient packing material to prevent damage along with the completed COC form.
  • Ship samples Monday through Friday for receipt within 24 hours of collection.
Spore Trap (Non-viable Air Sample)
Download Collection Protocol Method: Quantification and identification of impacted particles on a slide/cassette, including non-culturable mold spores, hyphal fragments, pollen, skin cells, and insect parts. The particle count is converted to a concentration based on air sample volume and expressed as spores per cubic meter (spores/m3).
Collection: The Zefron Bio-Pump is available for rent from U.S. Micro-Solutions, call 724-853-4047.
  1. Calibrate the pump prior to sampling.
  2. Determine sampling sites.
    • Collect an indoor sample from an unaffected area to serve as a control.
    • Collect a representative outdoor sample to provide a reference for determining whether certain fungi are being amplified in the indoor environment.
    • Submit a blank, unexposed spore trap cassette with each sampling event to serve as a negative control.
  3. Place the pump in the desired location.
  4. Label the spore trap cassette with sample number.
    • Do not use damaged or expired cassettes.
    • Avoid writing over the lot number and expiration date on the cassette.
  5. Remove the label from the outlet port of the cassette and place it on the side of the pump.
    • The labels on the outlet and intake ports will be used later to seal the cassette.
  6. Place the cassette on the rubber grommet on top of the pump until it fits snugly.
  7. Immediately before sampling, remove the spore trap label from the inlet of the cassette and place it on the side of the pump.
  8. Examples of recommended sampling times:
    • Sampling volume (15 L/min); 75 total liters is recommended as a benchmark for representative sample volume.
    • The flow rate recommended for total spore sampling is 15L/min for 3-5 minutes with Air-O-Cell, VersaTrap, and Allergenco-D cassettes, and 5L/min for 5 minutes with Micro-5 cassettes. Longer sampling times are used for clean rooms, hospitals, and remediated areas.
    • In dusty or heavily polluted areas, particle overloading may occur, and sampling times/volume should be adjusted accordingly.
      LOCATION SAMPLING TIME
      Outdoor (depending on season) 2-5 minutes
      Indoor Clean office (no visible dust) 5 minutes
      High activity personnel 2-5 minutes
      Drywall renovation or industrial dust 1 minute
      Visible dust present 30 seconds
  9. Turn on the pump.
    • The impacted area (trace) of the spore trap should appear opaque, not white, when an appropriate amount of sample has been collected.
    • If the trace appears white, repeat the sample collection for a shorter amount of time.
  10. When sampling is completed, replace the label on the spore trap cassette inlet port.
  11. Remove the cassette from the pump by gently pulling upward.
  12. Replace the label on the cassette outlet.
Shipping:
  1. Clearly label each sample with a Sample Number and complete the Chain of Custody (COC).
  2. Place the cassettes in a Ziploc bag in a box with sufficient packing material to prevent damage and ship to the laboratory with the completed COC form.
    • Keep spore trap cassettes at room temperature to prevent melting of the gel layer.
  3. Ship samples Monday through Friday.
Bulk Sampling
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Sample: Representative pieces of drywall, ceiling tile, insulation, carpet, padding, filters, dirt, etc.
Method: Quantitative culture on appropriate media for bacteria and/or fungi.  The bacterial and fungal concentrations are expressed as colony forming units per gram of material (CFU/g).  Direct microscopic exam can also be performed.
Certification: AIHA-LAP, LLC #103009; ISO 17025
Turn-around-time: 5-10 days culture; 3-4 days direct microscopic exam (next day, same day, 3-hour analysis available)
Collection:
  • Wearing gloves, remove a representative piece/portion of the sample.  Typically a 1-2 inch square piece is sufficient.
    • Avoid sending large bulks (ceiling tile, wall board, filters).
    • Extremely small samples will be processed for direct microscopic exam only.
    • Apply strict aseptic technique when collecting and submitting samples for culture.
    • Record the unit area sampled in the "Sample Volume/Area" box.  If there is no specific sample area, please mark "NA."  Results are calculated using the areas provided.
Shipping:
  • Clearly label each sample with a Sample Number and complete the Chain of Custody (COC).
  • Place each sample in a Ziploc bag then in a box with sufficient packing material to prevent damage, along with the completed COC form.
  • Ship samples Monday through Friday for receipt within 24 hours of collection.
Swab Sampling
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Sample: Swab of solid surface
Swabs allow sampling in tight areas, analysis by both direct microscopic exam and culture,provide information similar to that obtained by bulk samples, and are preferred when a less destructive method of sample collection is desired. Method: Quantitative culture for bacteria and/or fungi; microorganisms will be reported as colony forming units (CFU) per unit area.
Certification: AIHA-LAP, LLC #103009; ISO 17025
Turn-around-time: 5-10 days; 3-4 days direct microscopic exam (next day, same day, 3-hour analysis available)
Collection: Swabs are available free of charge from USMS, call 724-853-4047. Do not use “Q-tips” or other cotton swabs intended for personal use.  These swabs are not appropriate for environmental sampling.
  • Select a sampling area where mold is visible.
    • Sampling sites include solid surfaces such as walls, concrete, HVAC systems, wood, carpets.
    • An area between 1 and 4 square inches is recommended for swab cultures.
  • Wearing gloves, peel down the swab wrapper about 1 inch.
    • Apply strict aseptic technique when collecting samples.
  • Remove the plug from the media tube by twisting; discard the plug.
  • Remove the swab from the wrapper and insert it into the media tube.
  • Squeeze the bottom of the tube until the liquid in the sponge wets the swab.
  • Rub the pre-moistened swab vigorously over the desired sampling area.
  • Insert the swab into the media tube and firmly close the cap.
  • Record the sample number on the tube.
  • Record the unit area sampled for each swab.
Shipping:
  • Clearly label each sample with a Sample Number and complete the Chain of Custody (COC).
  • Place the swabs in a Ziploc bag in a box with sufficient packing material to prevent damage and ship to the laboratory with the completed COC form.
  • Ship samples Monday through Friday for receipt within 24 hours of collection.
Bio-Tape Sampling
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Sample: Tape preparation from a solid surface  
Method: Direct microscopic exam to identify and quantitate fungi, skin cells, pollen, and insects  
Certification: AIHA-LAP, LLC #103009; ISO 17025  
Collection:
Bio-Tape slides are available free of charge from USMS, call 724-853-4047.
Bio-Tape:
  • Select a sampling area where mold is visible.
    • ​Sampling sites include solid surfaces such as walls, concrete, HVAC systems, wood.
    • Avoid collecting excessive debris and/or fungi.  Samples that are too thick are difficult to analyze.
  • Remove the Bio-Tape slide from the mailer.
    • ​Gloves should be worn to avoid transferring contaminants from hands.
  • Record the Sample Number on the slide.
  • Peel off the protective liner labeled "Peel" from the slide to expose the adhesive.
    • Use the centering line to orient the adhesive over the desired sampling location.
  • Place the slide with the adhesive side down on the sampling surface.
  • Gently press down to ensure adequate contact is made.
  • Carefully remove the slide from the surface and place it back in the slide mailer with the label facing up.
    • Do not replace the plastic "Peel" liner.
  • Complete the Chain of Custody/Test Request Form.
    • Please ensure that all sample information is included on the form.

DME Sample Report.
Shipping:
  • Ensure that each sample is clearly labeled with a Sample Number.
  • Place the slide mailers in a box with sufficient packing material to prevent damage, along with the completed COC form.
  • Ship samples Monday through Friday via FedEx.

U.S. Micro-Solutions, Inc.
1075 South Main Street, Suite 104
Greensburg, PA, 15601 ​

Transparent Tape:
Bio-Tape slides are preferable to transparent tape. Bio-Tape aids the user in orienting the tape during sampling and allows the laboratory analyst to easily locate the center of the sample.  Each slide has a unique serial number for traceability and is packed in a plastic slide mailer to prevent cross-contamination and breakage.
  • A 1x1 or 1x2 inch piece of tape is adequate.
    • Use Crystal Clear tape only.  DO NOT use frosted tape or packing tape.
  • Hold the tape by the edges only.
  • Press adhesive side of the tape gently onto sampling surface.
    • ​DO NOT rub back and forth.
  • Pull tape slowly from the surface.
  • Apply the tape to a clean microscope slide with the adhesive side down.
    • Tape should not be wrinkled, overlapped, or torn.
    • Do not wrap the tape completely around the microscope slide.
  • Record the Sample Number on the slide.
  • Complete the Chain of Custody/Test Request Form.
    • Please ensure that all sample information is included on the form.
DME Sample Report
Shipping:
  • Ensure that each sample is clearly labeled with a Sample Number.
  • Place the slides in a box with sufficient packing material to prevent damage, along with the completed COC form.
    • Package tape samples with care.  The laboratory cannot analyze cracked or shattered samples.
  • Ship samples Monday through Friday via FedEx
Dust Sampling
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Sample: Dust collected onto a sterile filter using a suction device.

Method: Quantitative culture using media for fungal isolation. The concentrations of molds are expressed in terms of colony forming units (CFU) per gram of material (CFU/g), CFU per area sampled (CFU/ft²), or CFU/sample if <0.1 g is submitted. Direct microscopic exam (DME) is also available for dust samples.

Collection:
Dust collection cassettes (0.8 um) are available free of charge from U.S. Micro-Solutions, call 724-853-4047; an Andersen N6 sampler is available for rent. Please click here for Rental Agreement.

  1. Attach one end of the vinyl tubing to the inlet nozzle of the pump.
  2. Attach the other end of the vinyl tubing to the cassette by first removing the round cap from the cassette. Set aside the cap for later use.
  3. Remove the vinyl cap on the other end of the cassette and set aside the cap for later use.
  4. Plug in the pump and turn on.
  5. Sample the desired area.

    For carpet:

    • The best practice is to tape off square-foot sections of carpet.
    • Begin vacuuming the sectioned area using a back and forth side-to-side motion. Then repeat in an up and down cross direction until there is a visible amount of dust in the cassette.
    • Additional square-foot sections may have to be sampled to obtain a sufficient amount of dust.

    For solid horizontal surfaces: Use a back and forth motion over the surface until there is a visible amount of dust in the cassette.

  6. Turn off the pump when the desired area is sampled or amount of dust is collected.
  7. Carefully remove the cassette from the tubing and replace the round and vinyl caps.
  8. Label cassette with the sample number.

 

Shipping:

  1. Clearly label each sample with a Sample Number and complete the Chain of Custody (COC).
  2. Place the cassettes in a Ziploc bag in a box with sufficient packing material to prevent damage and ship to the laboratory with the completed COC form.
  3. Ship samples at ambient temperature Monday through Friday.

Water Analysis

Heterotophic Plate Count
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Sample: Potable or nonpotable water collected in sterile bottles with sodium thiosulfate neutralizer
Method: Quantitative Pour Plate Standard Method 9215B
Certification: New York ELAP #12055, AIHA-LAP, LLC #103009; ISO 17025
Turn-around-time: 5 days
Collection: U.S. Micro-Solutions, Inc. provides free sterile screw-top bottles with sodium thiosulfate neutralizer. Call 724-853-4047 for details.
Potable Water
  • Turn on cold or hot water and immediately collect 100 mL in a sterile plastic bottle with sodium thiosulfate.​
  • Fasten lid tightly and invert bottle to mix.
  • Keep samples cold (≤ 8oC) prior to shipping.
Cooling Towers & Reservoirs
  • Collect a 100 mL sample of water from reservoir or condensation pan by submerging an open sterile plastic bottle with sodium thiosulfate just under the surface of the water.  Avoid collecting excessive sediment.
  • Fasten lid tightly and invert bottle to mix.
  • Sanitize the outside of the bottle with an alcohol wipe to prevent cross-contamination of samples.
  • If collecting samples from more than one location, wear disposable gloves and change after each sample.
  • Keep samples cold (≤ 8oC) prior to shipping.
Shipping:
  • Clearly label each sample with a Sample Number and complete the Chain of Custody (COC).
  • Place samples in Ziploc bags and then in a box with an insulated foam liner and ice pack.
  • Insert the completed COC form into a plastic sleeve or Ziploc bag and place in box.
  • Ship samples Monday through Friday for receipt within 24 hours of collection.
Colilert® Water Testing
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Sample: potable water collected in a sterile container; for chlorinated water use a container with sodium thiosulfate neutralizer.
Method: qualitative colorimetric detection of E. coli and coliforms; this method can detect a single viable coliform of E. coli in the presence of up to 20,000 CFU/mL of heterotrophic bacteria.
Turn-around-time: 24 hours
  • Colilerts are processed Monday – Thursday during normal business hours and only until noon on Fridays.
  • Colilerts cannot be processed Saturday or the day prior to a holiday.
Collection: Sterile screw-top containers for water collection are available free of charge from USMS, call 724-853-4047.

Potable Water - Distribution System without attachments:
  • Select a tap that is supplying water from a service pipe directly connected with the main, and is not, for example, served from a cistern or storage tank.
  • Open tap fully and let water run for 2 minutes or for a time sufficient to permit clearing of the service line.
  • Reduce water flow to permit filling the sample container without splashing. Collect 100 mL of water.
  • Label the sample container with the sample number.
  • Maintain sample at 2-8oC after collection.
Potable Water - Well fitted with a hand pump:
  • Pump water for about 5-10 minutes or until water temperature has stabilized then fill the sample container without splashing. Collect 100 ml of water.
  • If no pumping machinery is available, collect a sample directly from the well by means of a sterilized bottle fitted with a weight at the base. Take care to avoid contaminating samples. Collect 100 ml of water.
  • Label the sample container with the sample number. Maintain sample at 2-8oC after collection.
Shipping:
  • Clearly label each sample with a Sample Number and complete the Chain of Custody (COC).
  • Place sample in a Ziploc bag and then in a box with an insulated foam liner and ice pack.
  • Insert the completed COC form into a plastic sleeve or Ziploc bag and place in box.
  • Ship samples Monday through Thursday (noon) for receipt within 24 hours of collection.
Sewage Screen
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Sample: water/sludge collected in a sterile container (for chlorinated water use a container with sodium thiosulfate neutralizer); swab of solid surface; bulk sample submitted in sterile container
Method: Selective culture for E. coli, fecal coliforms, and Enterococcus (fecal streptococci); microorganisms will be reported as colony forming units (CFU) per unit area (swabs); CFU/mL (water); or CFU/g (bulk)
Certification: AIHA-LAP, LLC #103009; ISO 17025
Turn-around-time: 2-3 days
Collection: Sterile screw-top containers and swabs are available free of charge from USMS, call 724-853-4047.  Do not use “Q-tips” or other cotton swabs intended for personal use.  These swabs are not appropriate for environmental sampling.
Swabs
  • Select a sampling area where fecal contamination is suspected.
    • An area between 1 and 4 square inches is recommended for swab cultures.
  • Wearing gloves, peel down the swab wrapper about 1 inch.
  • Apply strict aseptic technique when collecting samples.
  • Remove the plug from the media tube by twisting; discard the plug.
  • Remove the swab from the wrapper and insert it into the media tube.
  • Squeeze the bottom of the tube until the liquid in the sponge wets the swab.
  • Rub the pre-moistened swab vigorously over the desired sampling area.
  • Insert the swab into the media tube and firmly close the cap.
  • Record the sample number on the tube.
  • Record the unit area sampled for each swab.
  • Maintain sample at 2-8oC after collection.
Potable Water - Distribution System without attachments
  • Select a tap that is supplying water from a service pipe directly connected with the main, and is not, for example, served from a cistern or storage tank.
  • Open tap fully and let water run for 2 minutes or for a time sufficient to permit clearing of the service line.
  • Reduce water flow to permit filling the sample container without splashing. Collect 100 mL of water.
  • Label the sample container with the sample number.
  • Maintain sample at 2-8oC after collection.
Potable Water - Well fitted with a hand pump
  • Pump water for about 5-10 minutes or until water temperature has stabilized then fill the sample container without splashing. Collect 100 mL of water.
  • If no pumping machinery is available, collect a sample directly from the well by means of a sterilized bottle fitted with a weight at the base. Take care to avoid contaminating samples. Collect 100 ml of water.
  • Label the sample container with the sample number.
  • Maintain sample at 2-8oC after collection.
Shipping:
  • Clearly label each sample with a Sample Number and complete the Chain of Custody (COC).
  • Place sample in a Ziploc bag and then in a box with an insulated foam liner and ice pack.
  • Insert the completed COC form into a plastic sleeve or Ziploc bag and place in box.
  • Ship samples Monday through Friday for receipt within 24 hours of collection.

Medical Device

Heater/Cooler Water Culture
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Sample: Water from heater/cooler unit
Method: Quantitative culture for E. coli, coliforms, P. aeruginosa, heterotrophic bacteria, and mycobacteria
Turn-around-time: 48 hours (E. coli, coliforms, P. aeruginosa); 5 days (heterotrophic plate count); up to 6 weeks (mycobacteria)
Collection:
  • Prior to disinfection of the unit, collect 500 mL of water in a sterile plastic container from the drain valve at the back of the unit.
  • Maintain sample at 2-8oC after collection.
Shipping:
  • Clearly label each sample with a Sample Number and complete the Chain of Custody (COC).
  • Place samples in Ziploc bags and then in a box with an insulated foam liner and ice pack.
  • Insert the completed COC form into a plastic sleeve or Ziploc bag and place in box.
  • Ship samples Monday through Thursday (12 noon) for receipt within 24 hours of collection.
Duodenoscope Culture
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Sample: 50 mL samples are aseptically collected from the distal elevator mechanism/channel and the instrument channel.  Unused sterile water and phosphate buffered saline used for sampling are submitted as negative controls.
Method: Quantitative culture for bacteria
Turn-around-time: 48-72 hours
Collection: Shipping:
  • Clearly label each sample with a Sample Number and complete the Chain of Custody (COC).
  • Place each container in its own Ziploc bag and then in a box with an insulated foam liner and ice pack.
  • Insert the completed COC form into a plastic sleeve or Ziploc bag and place in box.
  • Ship samples Monday through Thursday (12 noon) for receipt within 24 hours of collection.

Specific Pathogens

Staphylococcus, including MRSA
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Sample: Swab sample of surface, water collected in a sterile bottle with sodium thiosulfate neutralizer.
Method: Qualitative culture for staphylococci using selective media
Turn-around-time: 3-5 days
Collection: Swabs and sterile bottles with neutralizer are available free of charge from U.S. Micro-Solutions, call 724-853-4047.  Do not use “Q-tips” or other cotton swabs intended for personal use.  These swabs are not appropriate for environmental sampling.
Swabs
  • Select a sampling area where contamination is suspected.​
  • Wearing gloves, peel down the swab wrapper about 1 inch.
    • Apply strict aseptic technique when collecting samples.
  • Remove the plug from the media tube by twisting; discard the plug.
  • Remove the swab from the wrapper and insert it into the media tube.
  • Squeeze the bottom of the tube until the liquid in the sponge wets the swab.
  • Rub the pre-moistened swab vigorously over the desired sampling area.
  • Insert the swab into the media tube and firmly close the cap.
Water
  • Wearing gloves, collect a 100 mL water sample in a bottle with sodium thiosulfate neutralizer.
  • Fasten lid tightly and invert bottle to mix.
  • If bottle was submerged in water during collection, sanitize the outside of the bottle with an alcohol wipe to prevent cross-contamination of samples.
  • If collecting samples from more than one location, wear disposable gloves and change after each sample.
Shipping:​
  • Clearly label each sample with a Sample Number and complete the Chain of Custody (COC).
  • Place the samples in a Ziploc bag with sufficient packing material to prevent damage, along with the COC. Use separate bags for swab and water samples.
  • Ship samples Monday through Friday for receipt within 24 hours of collection.
Mycobacteria
Download Collection Protocol
Sample: Potable and non-potable water collected in sterile bottles with sodium thiosulfate neutralizer.
Method: Sample concentration, decontamination, and plating to selective media.
Certification: AIHA-LAP, LLC #103009; ISO 17025
Turn-around-time: up to 6 weeks
Collection:  U.S. Micro-Solutions, Inc. provides free sterile screw-cap bottles with sodium thiosulfate. Call 724-853-4047 for details.
For collection of water from heater/cooler units, see Heater/Cooler Water Culture under Medical Device above.
 Potable Water:
  • Turn on hot water and immediately collect 100 mL in a sterile plastic bottle with sodium thiosulfate.​
  • Fasten lid tightly and invert bottle to mix.
  • Keep sample cool (≤ 17oC) prior to shipping.
Nonpotable Water:
  • Collect 100 mL in a sterile plastic bottle with sodium thiosulfate.​
  • Fasten lid tightly and invert bottle to mix.
  • Keep sample cool (≤ 17oC) prior to shipping.
Shipping:
  • Clearly label each sample with a Sample Number and complete the Chain of Custody (COC).
  • Place samples in Ziploc bags and pack in a box with an insulated foam liner and ice pack.
  • Insert the completed COC form into a plastic sleeve or Ziploc bag and place in box.
  • Ship samples Monday through Friday for receipt within 24 hours of collection.
    • If necessary, samples may be refrigerated (4-8oC) overnight.
  • P. aeruginosa
    Download Collection Protocol
    Sample: Swab sample of a surface; water collected in a sterile bottle with sodium thiosulfate neutralizer.
    Method: Qualitative culture for P. aeruginosa using selective media
    Turn-around-time: 3-5 days
    Collection: Swabs and sterile bottles with neutralizer are available free of charge from U.S. Micro-Solutions, call 724-853-4047.  Do not use “Q-tips” or other cotton swabs intended for personal use.  These swabs are not appropriate for environmental sampling.
    Swabs
    • Select a sampling area where contamination is suspected.​
    • Wearing gloves, peel down the swab wrapper about 1 inch.
      • Apply strict aseptic technique when collecting samples.
    • Remove the plug from the media tube by twisting; discard the plug.
    • Remove the swab from the wrapper and insert it into the media tube.
    • Squeeze the bottom of the tube until the liquid in the sponge wets the swab.
    • Rub the pre-moistened swab vigorously over the desired sampling area.
    • Insert the swab into the media tube and firmly close the cap.
    Water
    • Wearing gloves, collect a 100 mL water sample in a bottle with sodium thiosulfate neutralizer.
    • Fasten lid tightly and invert bottle to mix.
    • If bottle was submerged in water during collection, sanitize the outside of the bottle with an alcohol wipe to prevent cross-contamination of samples.
    • If collecting samples from more than one location, wear disposable gloves and change after each sample.
    Shipping:​
    • Clearly label each sample with a Sample Number and complete the Chain of Custody (COC).
    • Place the samples in a Ziploc bag in a box with sufficient packing material to prevent damage. Use separate bags for swab and water samples.
    • Insert COC into box.
    • Ship samples Monday through Friday for receipt within 24 hours of collection.

    Get in Touch

    To learn more about our services or to get more information, please contact us
    by calling (724) 853-4047 or by using our contact form.