6 Industries and Industrial Applications that use Microbiology Tests

Nowadays, many individuals are conscious of what they eat. Is the food sold in the supermarket healthy to eat? Is the food organic, or does it have residue chemicals from pesticides? How do you test and ensure the safety of the food? The microbiology tests answers these questions. It is a process that conducts a high-value analysis of food products. It is a procedure done in a laboratory to check whether the food products eaten does not have harmful microorganisms that can cause diseases.

What is Industrial Microbiology?

Industrial microbiology is an applied branch of biotechnology that focuses on microorganisms that affect the production of goods. As in other applications, microorganisms could either be helpful or harmful on an industrial scale. Unfortunately, there is no middle room. On one side of the spectrum, the introduction of microorganisms helps in certain process lines and treatment processes. For example, certain types of bacteria are used in the food industry to ferment wine and beer.

In wastewater treatment plants, bacteria facilitate the removal of some pollutants. And in the health industry, microorganisms are grown in specific media to produce antibiotics. On the other end of the spectrum, however, microorganisms can be harmful, too. A well-known risk is the contamination of food and pharmaceutical goods. It could be extremely dangerous as it poses health risks to consumers.

At higher risk levels, bacteria can even contaminate the air. An example is what happened in a pharmaceutical factory in China, which accidentally leaked bacteria into the air in mid-2022, resulting in the infection of at least 3,000 people more than one year later, as recent reports say. It is particularly risky since people would not know whether the air that they breathe is clean or not. Additionally, bacteria travel faster and farther as it travels with the wind, thus making microbiology testing essential in almost every industry.

Aside from food and drugs, several industries also employ it. And they all have a common goal—that is to protect their end-users and employees from the risk of infection or harmful bacteria and viruses.

Industries that use Microbiology Tests

1. Food Industries

The food industry relies heavily on microbiology tests for quality assurance since they produce sustenance to many individuals. Without it, the recall of food products will be more common, or, worse, the health of consumers is put at risk.

While food manufacturers use microorganisms in various ways, contamination of harmful bacteria could be due to different reasons, like careless handling of raw materials, inefficient water and wastewater treatment facilities and improper packaging.

2. Pharmaceuticals Industries

Similar to the food industry, pharmaceutical manufacturers use microbiology testing daily. Whether the final product is ingested or introduced via intravenous methods, drugs are there to relieve us of any illness or pain.

Therefore, it is imperative that strict pharmaceutical testing is conducted so that the public becomes confident in the consumption of supposed life-saving drugs.

3. Cosmetics Industries

The cosmetics industry is the third industry that uses microbiology tests. Again, this is important since we apply cosmetic products on the skin, which means that any form of microorganism present in cosmetic products could enter one’s pores and potentially pose a risk to the user.

Additionally, cosmetic manufacturers also conduct microbiology tests in their process and waste streams for environmental monitoring, depending on their manufacturing location and zoning.

4. Medical Technology

Hospitals and intensive care setups often employ medical devices and equipment, like oxygen tanks and ventilators. For end-users in sensitive situations, to prevent the transmission of bacteria that cause life-threatening diseases, all products must be sterilized before and after each use.

Using microbiology tests would help protect employees of manufacturing firms and staff, patients, and visitors of healthcare facilities.

5. Palatable Water

Water is most probably one of the most consumed goods as everyone needs water to survive. It is why microbiology tests are done daily to ensure that drinking water is free from microorganisms like parasites, bacteria, and viruses.

6. Prisons and Jails

Violence is prominent in these setups, and the treatment of wounds and injuries that arise from it are not often the priority. This behavior brings sanitation down to an unfavorable level, making prisons and jails a good breeding ground for bacteria.

Prisons and jails are often crowded and are rarely kept ventilated. While this could be for security purposes, it is still essential to ensure that the spread of infectious diseases is minimized. Routine microbiology tests help reduce the risk of infection for both the staff and the inmates.

Overall, people involved in various industries are at high risk when it comes to microbiological contamination. This is why safety protocols are in place, and microbiology tests have a specific passing quality for each industry.