Testing for the presence of microorganisms has historically been a time consuming, expensive process requiring skilled technicians and laboratory facilities. The demand for more rapid testing methods has led to the development of more user-friendly, time sensitive testing methods
According to Dr. Alice Guh, ATP testing systems are used to provide quantitative measurements to indicate the level of cleanliness on high touch surfaces. https://www.cdc.gov/hai/pdfs/toolkits/environ-cleaning-eval-toolkit12-2-2010.pdf
So What Is ATP?
ATP (or adenosine triphosphate), is an energy molecule utilized by living cells for fuel needs. Humans, animals, plants, etc. produce and consume ATP for basic cell function. ATP exists in all living microbial cells and is a sensitive marker for the presence of unwanted organisms that can cause infection and disease.
.ATP bioluminescence is currently being utilized by RCS as a part of our quality control process and is critical to validating our proprietary, multi-step process and allows us to document “before and after” assessments of your garments.
How is ATP Evaluated?
The measurement of ATP on surfaces using a luciferase assay and luminometer has been used to evaluate cleanliness of food preparation surfaces for more than thirty years. A specialized swab is used to sample a standardized surface area which is then analyzed using a portable handheld luminometer. The total amount of ATP, both microbial and non-microbial, is quantified in seconds and expressed in Relative Light Units (RLUs) which indicates the cleanliness of the surface tested. (Guh, 2010)
Simply put, the amount of ATP present on the swab is a quantitative measurement of the cleanliness of the surface tested. A fairly low RLU reading indicates lower levels of bioburden on the surface. Whereas, fairly high readings may represent higher accumulated levels of bioburden, which may include living microorganisms, organic debris, dead bacteria or a combination of each. ATP testing highlights the presence of both living and dead microorganisms on the surface, thus the importance of this real time tool to quickly tell you the level of risk associated with whatever surface one has just swabbed.
"THE NUMBERS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES...
WHAT DO YOUR
NUMBERS LOOK LIKE?"
1 ATP, RLUs, and CFUs. 3M Corporation. 2010.