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Test media incubation and results reading

Pharmaceutical environmental media incubation and result reading service

Incubation of media

The department has been providing an environmental media incubation and result reading service for internal customers for over 30 years and more recently external customers too.  The department has 15 incubators for incubation of all commonly used environmental testing media. Media is routinely incubated at 20-25°C and 30-35°C with the incubation regime set up to meet the end users requirements. The incubators are monitored 24 hours a day by the calibrated Comark temperature monitoring system. Both liquid and solid media are routinely incubated including:

  • Broth media fills 
  • CIVAS and other types of broth kit 
  • Settle plates 
  • Contact plates 
  • Sterility test canisters 
pharmacy qa incubators

Media reading 

Solid media

Plate reading can be performed between incubation change over (an interim read) and after completion of incubation dependant on the end users requirement. Plates are enumerated by trained staff with the level of organism identification agreed with the customer. Organisms can be read to genus level using common laboratory techniques or can be read to species level using our Gen III MicroStation micro-organism identification equipment. 

Bespoke results data reporting systems can be set up using IT software suites with real time access to “live” data tables via a web interface. This includes direct data entry by RDH QA staff removing customer data input requirements and producing “live” update of graphical and data presentations to meet customer requirements. Systems are designed via direct consultation with customers. This also includes individual result exception reporting when out of specification levels are exceeded. Examples of existing customer data is shown in the illustrations below.

Raw data table

 pharmacy qa raw data table


 Monthly report table

 pharmacy qa monthly report table


Monthly media count table 

pharmacy qa Monthly media count table 


Monthly out of specification graphs 

pharmacy qa Monthly out of specification graphs 


Liquid media 

Liquid testing media is read dependent on the regime requested by the end user. Media can be read and rotated on a daily basis as required. 

If you require more information please contact Marc Sutton (Head of QC) on direct telephone number 01332 787950 or via e-mail marc.sutton@nhs.net. Alternatively contact Kate Pegg (Deputy Head of QC) on direct telephone number 01332 787949 or via e-mail kate.pegg@nhs.net

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