Flow Cytometry: Evolution of Microbiological Methods for Probiotics Enumeration

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Goals:The purpose of this trial was to verify that the analytical method ISO 19344:2015 (E)-IDF 232:2015 (E) is valid and reliable for quantifying the concentration of the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (ATCC 53103) in a finished product formulation.Background:Flow cytometry assay is emerging as an alternative rapid method for microbial detection, enumeration, and population profiling. The use of flow cytometry not only permits the determination of viable cell counts but also allows for enumeration of damaged and dead cell subpopulations. Results are expressed as TFU (Total Fluorescent Units) and AFU (Active Fluorescent Units). In December 2015, the International Standard ISO 19344-IDF 232 “Milk and milk products—Starter cultures, probiotics and fermented products—Quantification of lactic acid bacteria by flow cytometry” was published. This particular ISO can be applied universally and regardless of the species of interest.Study:Analytical method validation was conducted on 3 different industrial batches of L. rhamnosus GG according to USP39<1225>/ICH Q2R1 in term of: accuracy, precision (repeatability), intermediate precision (ruggedness), specificity, limit of quantification, linearity, range, robustness.Results:The data obtained on the 3 batches of finished product have significantly demonstrated the validity and robustness of the cytofluorimetric analysis.Conclusions:On the basis of the results obtained, the ISO 19344:2015 (E)-IDF 232:2015 (E) “Quantification of lactic acid bacteria by flow cytometry” can be used for the enumeration of L. rhamnosus GG in a finished product formulation.

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