By Dave Tracey, LuminUltra
Perhaps the most common question that we’re asked is how our ATP tests correlate with traditional microbiological methods. Unsurprisingly, when people are used to getting their information in a certain way, they naturally want to know how a new method will stack up against it. However, the mechanisms of culture-based techniques and ATP analyses are completely different, and in many ways, so are the results they produce. Microorganisms, by definition, can’t be seen with the naked eye so special measures have to be taken to investigate them. The picture must either be magnified so that they can be seen (i.e. via a microscope) or microorganisms must be grown to produce colonies that can be seen. Microscopic analyses tend to be more effective for characterizing the overall picture in terms of the types of microbes present while culture tests are better suited to indicate the relative quantity of certain types of microbes. When the general population needs to be quantified, a heterotrophic plate count (HPC) is often used.