IMSL is a testing and consultancy service specialising in the microbiology of industrial processes, materials and products. We provide support for a wide range of industries from paints, adhesives, polymer dispersions and metal working fluids to plastics, paper and textiles as well as testing disinfectants, cooling water and process fluids etc. IMSL is highly experienced in testing and validating the performance of treated materials and treated articles.
- Production hygiene and final product testing
- Preservation system design and evaluation
- Testing and validation of disinfectants and treated articles
- Efficacy data generation for product registration (BPR, EPA etc)
- Expert advice on product and process design and claims
IMSL is always customer and service driven. We focus on delivering data that is best suited to its purpose and that is presented in a clear and easily understood form. We want to ensure that our customers understand the impact that microbiology can have on their products and processes and that any claims that they make are supported fully by robust, scientifically and statistically sound data.
Sterility testing is performed on a wide range of materials from paints, polymer dispersions and adhesives to colourants, inks and personal care products. The techniques employed can be varied to suit the application and range from simple presence / absence tests to full quantification based on the various Pharmacopeia protocols (e.g. Ph.Europ 4 Chapter 2.6.12). In many cases ranges of tests are employed and product and production quality is monitored through the use of secure on-line databases and SPC systems.
Contaminants can be identified in-house and profiled for tolerance to a wide range of preservatives to assess risks to products and manufacturing processes. The aim is, where appropriate, to integrate the testing into the whole quality assurance programme through customised approaches and plant audits. We have extensive experience with many manufacturing processes and understand the limitations and risks that apply and work closely with our clients to optimise manufacturing quality.
IMSL performs all of the major disinfection test protocols including the full range of EN tests as well as the AOAC methods.
Data can be generated to satisfy both regulatory requirement such as efficacy data for the products and active substances in Main Group 1 of the EU Biocidal Products Regulation as well as for product development. Through the use of screening tests formulations can be optimised before being subjected to the full standards and modified methods can be employed which more closely represent the challenges products may face in real life scenarios.
Phase 1: Basic bactericidal and fungicidal activity. (Industrial)BS EN1040, BS EN 1275, BS EN 14347
Phase 2 - Step 1: Quantitative suspension testing to evaluate bactericidal, fungicidal and sporicidal activity (Industrial) BS EN 1276, BS EN 1650, BS EN 13704, (Medical) BS EN 13727, BS EN 13624, (Veterinary) BS EN 1656, BS EN 1657
Phase 2 - Step 3: Surface testing (Industrial) BS EN 13697, (Medical) BS EN 14561, BS EN 14562, BS EN 14563, BS EN 1499, BS EN 1500, BS EN 12791, BS EN 16615, (Veterinary) BS EN 14349.
Preservative Efficacy Testing
Testing the efficacy of preservatives used in a wide range of products, from paints and adhesives to hand lotions and cleaning products is performed routinely at IMSL
Methods such as IBRG DSP 19-004.1, IBRG PDG 16-007.3, IBRG FFG 19-006.2, IBRG FFG 19-007.2, IBRG FFG 19-008.1, IBRG FFG 16-001.4, IBRG PDG 16-001.2, IBRG PG16-001.2, ASTM E645, ASTM E1869 as well as those described in the various Pharmacopeia and other international standards. The organisms and incubation conditions used can be modified such that they are relevant to your product and help predict the performance of the preservative used. Ageing and pre treatment of materials prior to testing, normally by prolonged periods at elevated temperatures, can also provide useful information about the stability of the preservative within the matrix and can help predict the shelf life of products.
Studies can also be designed to examine interactions and IMSL makes extensive use of statistical tools to optimise such investigations, helping to produce pre screening cascades that lead more efficiently to the selection and validation of final preservative regimes.
Tests are also performed on finished goods such as plastics, textiles and surface coatings to determine both their susceptibility to and resistance against microbiological growth and spoilage. As well as standard test protocols such as BS3900 Part G6 (resistance of paints to mould growth), ISO 846, ASTM D3273, EN 15457, EN 15458, ASTM G21, MIL-Standard 810G etc, products can also be tested under conditions that simulate better their intended use and after pre conditioning (eg leaching), to explore their durability.
IMSL performs all of the major textile test protocols, as well as bespoke methods for odour prevention and absorption.
Data can be generated to satisfy both regulatory requirements such as efficacy data for products and active substances in Main Group 2 of the EU BPR (Product Type 9) as well as for product development. Through the use of standard antimicrobial textile methods, antibacterial activity can be screened and used as complementary data for odour prevention claims. IMSL implements methods measuring the production of odour compounds, using colorimetric spectroscopy and HPLC. Odour absorption is measured using a modification to ISO 17299:2014 Part 3 as well as bespoke methods developed by IMSL, eg inhibition of the production of isovaleric acid and prevention of the generation of ammonia from urine.
Whether as part of the ongoing support of a manufacturing process or as a stand-alone project, IMSL has extensive experience in microbiological problem solving.
Examples include the identification of sources of contamination in manufacturing process, the optimisation of slime control measures in production facilities such as paper mills and textile and yarn manufacture as well as investigations into the premature failure of products due to microbiological contamination and spoilage (eg biological growth on electrical transmission system, early failure of facade paints in service etc).
Studies have been conducted to identify the sources of airborne microorganisms in a range of facilities leading to strategies for the control. We have a sound understanding of many manufacturing processes and materials which enables us to focus more accurately on the potential cause of problems and help identify practical and appropriate solutions.
Environmental analysis of microflora as well as isolation and identification followed by minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) analysis and minimum biocidal concentration (MBC) analysis.
IMSL is widely recognised for its expertise in the measurement of the performance of treated articles. This ranges from antibacterial coatings, through treated plastics to textiles intended to control the formation of odour.
We are actively involved in all of the major global initiatives related to the testing and regulation of these materials and the regulatory guidance.
As well as acting as consultants to manufacturers and regulatory agencies, IMSL can perform all of the known standard tests employed in this field (eg JIS Z 2801 / ISO 22196, ASTM E2149, ASTM E 3031, AATCC 100, AATCC 147, JIS L 1902, ISO 20743, IBRG TEX13-005 etc). Special focus is applied to the support of claims and IMSL has developed many protocols to simulate the end-use scenarios intended for products such that both robust regulatory and marketing claims can be supported. We regularly act as consultants to help understand what can be achieved with treated articles and how claims may be supported and what effects these have on their regulatory status.
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