BEFORE YOU START – WHAT IS ADENOSINE TRIOPHOSPHATE (ATP)?
There are a number of ways to perform environmental monitoring on your surfaces, and
each comes with its own set of pros and cons. Microbiological methods (i.e., swabbing
the surface and culturing microorganisms on a plate) will tell you what types of
microorganisms are on the surface, but require several hours to days to produce
results, and require a certain level of expertise to perform properly.
On the other hand, ATP bioluminescence testing doesn’t provide a profile of the types
of organisms on a surface, but will give you a quick snapshot of the overall
cleanliness of the surface. It is easy to use, and produces an instant result. Live
pathogens on a surface, including fungi and bacteria, produce a molecule called ATP,
which can be detected by swabbing a surface and measuring with an ATP meter.
However,ATP can be found in many other types of organic material, which includes food,
body fluids and other natural substances as well. Therefore,this test will give you a
sense of the overall bioburden on the surface, which can include microorganisms in
addition to other organic contamination. ATP and microbiological methods can work
together to provide a convenient, yet effective monitoring program.