ISO 22196

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ISO 22196 is a test method that quantitatively measures the antibacterial activity of plastics and other non-porous surfaces. It is a standard method established to test the ability of treated surfaces to kill (bactericidal) or prevent growth (bacteriostatic) of bacteria over 24 hours. It is a sensitive assay, able to detect low levels of antibacterial activity and achieve reproducible results, based on the Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) Z 2801.

Iso 22196 Procedure

ISO 22196 is performed in triplicate by inoculating control and testing surfaces with bacteria. The sample surfaces are then covered with a sterile coverslip to prevent evaporation, before being incubated for 24 hours in a humid environment at 35°C.

All these steps allow us to establish whether the tested surfaces are bacteriostatic, bactericidal or support bacterial growth.

Two bacterial species are specified in the standard ISO 22196 method, which states that samples should be tested against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. However, these can be substituted depending on the client’s needs, being able to test against more product and commercially relevant microorganisms such as MRSA, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Campylobacter spp. or Salmonella spp.

Credibility of result

The method has some limitations, and some people argue that it is not an accurate representation of contamination events. While a treated surface might meet the requirements of ISO 22196, it may not show the same result in ‘real-life’ studies.

It is worth considering that the ISO 22196 test is run in laboratory conditions instead of ‘real-life’. However, the method gives bacteria their ideal growth conditions and allows us to control conditions that may otherwise interfere and mask the performance of the materials.

In ‘real-life’, you cannot control the number of bacteria that went on to the product and therefore cannot quantify the exact reduction of a set time frame. As a result, the ISO 22196 test offers a realistic alternative to assess whether a product offers a reduction in bacteria.

It is also possible to make modifications to suit the client’s needs, like different environmental conditions, inoculum concentration, UV exposure and changes to the standard 24-hour contact time. This allows different conditions to be simulated but in a controlled laboratory setting, thus ensuring a reproducible result.

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If the ISO 22196 testing method would be of interest to you or you would like to explore another microbiology testing, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team at +44 (0)333 240 8308. Alternatively, you can fill in the contact form for a quote or more information regarding our antimicrobial testing capabilities.

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