5 Types of Rapid Microbiology Test Kits

Operate your testing laboratory at optimum speed with precision, while maintaining maximum ease and efficiency. Avantor® has the solutions you need to build the best rapid testing systems for microbiological testing. Accurately detect foodborne pathogens, spoilage organisms and other microbes. There are a range of microbial testing kits for raw ingredients, finished products, and environmental samples. 

Rapid Test Systems

Rapid microbiology tests are the fastest methodology of pathogen and biological contaminant detection. This methodology offers a quick and accurate way to measure the presence and even the concentration of unwanted substances in a given sample. 

Not only has rapid testing increased the speed at which we can correct the quality control measures in food, medicine, and environmental processes, but rapid test systems have also improved accuracy in terms of detecting low concentrations of contaminants.

Before rapid microbiological test kits were available, cultures were one of the only options available for diagnosing infectious diseases or biological contamination. This came with disadvantages – primarily that it took a considerable amount of time to detect a virus or bacterium using culturing methods. Beyond the time constraints, some microorganisms cannot be easily cultured, leaving researchers with a large margin of error. 

Rapid microbiology test systems can be grouped into distinct categories such as: 

  1. Antigen Detection - This system works by detecting antigens released by parasites. A common example of antigen testing is for the detection of malaria in the blood. The parasite releases LDH (lactate dehydrogenase) or HRP2 (Histidine-rich protein 2). When processed through antigen testing, an antibody attaches to the parasites’ antigen which will bind it to the test strip. This provides fast and accurate results. 
  2. Molecular Detection - Used for the detection of genomic variants, molecular detection is utilized to diagnose, monitor, or classify genetic materials. This can be performed via nucleic acid probes or via nucleic acid amplification. 
  3. Rapid Biochemical Tests - A common fast-acting test, rapid biochemical tests are used for testing nitrite and leukocyte esterase (LE) using a urine dipstick. 
  4. Direct Microscopy - This simple, direct testing system is ideal for examining the morphology of cells and organelles. Direct microscopy is performed via microbiological stains, such as gram and calcofluor white stains. This technique causes cells to immobilize on a solid support matrix, which is optically suitable for microscopy. The cells are then fixed in this position for easy examination. 
  5. Serology - This diagnostic process is built for the examination of blood serum and monitoring immune system responses to pathogens or introduced substances. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are one of the more common rapid tests that fall into this category.

Common Rapid Test Kits

Browse our list of the most common rapid testing kits available through Avantor®. From hardware and analytical equipment, to small accessories and sample preparation supplies, there are solutions for all of your testing needs. We offer full kit setups for PCR and food testing, as well as supplies to restock and keep your laboratory running smoothly. Select from the most common rapid testing kits for food, medical, and environmental samples.

Rapid Tests for Salmonella | PCR

Fast and easy to read yes-or-no results make Salmonella detection easy on the DuPont BAX® System. Test a wide variety of samples - from food to environmental.  

Salmonella PCR testing is primarily used for environmental surveillance. This testing will often be paired with a bacterial culture with the PCR to increase the testing sensitivity from the enrichment process. 

Although PCR tests require more time to produce results, as compared to antigen testing, PCR is slightly more accurate than other rapid testing options in its class. This makes PCR testing for salmonella a reliable quality control standard. 

Rapid Tests | Lateral Flow

Lateral flow assay is composed of a chromatographic system and immunochemical reaction.

The chromatographic system causes materials to separate out of solution on the basis of differences in their movement through the reaction membrane. This is then processed in an immunochemical reaction via either antibody-antigen or nucleic acid-target analyte. Detection is based on the movement of samples across the membrane via capillary force.

A distinction between lateral flow and PCR testing is based on the analyte used in the test. Lateral flow assay uses urine, whereas PCR testing requires plasma (often from blood samples). Another major difference between the two is that lateral flow can be used in many different applications, both qualitative and quantitative; however PCR is an example of a qualitative test. This means a PCR test will only detect the presence of a material like nucleic acid within a sample.

Below is a selection of all lateral flow tests available through Avantor®. Choose from a variety of lateral flow assays, for clear and easy to read results delivered quickly. 

Rapid Tests | Listeria

This food borne pathogen is caused by the presence of the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. It can cause health issues that result in stiff neck, fever, and headache – requiring urgent medical care due to its life threatening potential. 

First discovered in the early 1900’s, Listeria is a pathogen known to cause meningitis and septicemia, especially in newborn babies. It was later determined that Listeria monocytogenes could be transmitted through contaminated food.

Thankfully, Listeria is easy to detect with rapid testing systems in both food and environmental samples. By testing for this pathogen, you can minimize risk via early detection and avoid the potential of contamination and illness.

Environmental Monitoring

When monitoring contaminants in environmental samples, you may need to study samples that are void of plasma, proteins, and other biological fluids. Select from a number of testing kits and laboratory tools that help in making environmental testing of different media simple and accurate.

Avantor® offers a number of options for microbial testing and tools for the detection, isolation, and cultivation of microorganism colonies. We offer a wide variety of enrichment media, contact plates, and media preparation tools necessary for research and analysis.

Environmental Rapid Testing Supplies

Choose from a number of products that allow you to measure environmental variables in liquid, air, and solid samples. 

Accessories for Water Testing

Explore all accessory products for operating a water testing laboratory. Select from a variety of filtration, funnels, and sterile containers for operating a safe and clean wet lab. 

Selecting the right rapid microbiology test kit for your lab experiment

Based on the materials you are testing for, it can be fairly simple to identify what testing kits are optimal for your laboratory procedures. The highest level of classification is often established based on if you are testing environmental samples vs. medical/biological samples. 

Here are a few simple questions you can answer that will guide you to the ideal test kit.

  • What am I testing for? (Pathogen, indicators, organisms, spoilage) 
  • How many tests must be performed daily? You will need to consider how many samples, resources, and staff are available to operate your laboratory. 
  • Do you require faster results?
  • What skill level is required to develop protocols and operate daily testing?
  • What specialized training or equipment are you willing to acquire? 
  • What is the total cost you or your clients are willing to accept per test?
  • Are there limitations to testing based on local legislation? 

Once these parameters are established there are a number of options for specialized testing that will fit within your cost and labor needs. The faster and more accurate a testing system is, the more likely you will have to seek out specialized personnel and equipment, which often incurs higher costs to operate. 

Through Avantor® you can source all the tools, media, and reagents needed to run a successful testing laboratory. Check out our microbiology test kits above and contact us if you have questions about our products and services.