Bacterial Monitoring Services


bacterial screening COC thumb2Bacterial Identification, Quantification and Characterization Assays 

EBPI Analytics offers several different assays to evaluate bacterial contamination. We are very excited about our service possibilities as they can be combined with one another to provide a great deal of information about all types of bacterial contamination issues. We detect the presence and quantity of bacterial indicators which serve as markers for fecal contamination. Furthermore, EBPI Analytics and its partners at Microbial Insights, offer bacterial characterization services to identify the source of contamination and provide possible rationales for the test results. In this way, we offer a COMPLETE STORY for clients dealing with bacteria issues.


Identification and Quantification Assays

ATP-based Analysis

bacterial monitoring samplingprotATP is produced by all living organisms and is used as the primary energy molecule. Various chemical and enzymatic methods have been developed to detect or react with ATP to produce a visual signal upon reaction. The ATP-based analysis at EBPI Analytics to identify and quantify bacteria in water samples, use chemical luminescence produced by a reaction between luciferin, ATP, and oxygen, catalyzed by the luciferase enzyme to produce light as shown in the chemical equation below.

bacterial monitoring luciferase equation


The emission maximum of the light produced is ~ 560 nm, and can be detected with a spectrophotometer. The assay is extremely sensitive and can detect ATP concentrations in the picomolar range. As all living organisms use ATP for an energy source, the amount of light produced from the assays with water samples gives a quantitative assessment of the bacterial and biological content of the sample. 

Two different assays can be run using this test system at EBPI Analytics:

  • The Direct Test measures the total ATP content in the water sample
  • Membrane Filter Test measures the ATP activity from only the living bacteria present in the water samples. The water sample is filtered to collect only the bacteria and the assay is run again. The membrane filter test eliminates all of the intra and extracellular ATP from other biota and biological residues, which gives a more accurate reading of bacterial contamination 

These assays are ideal for water testing because:

  • They produce rapid results
  • Bacterial contamination can be quantified
  • They are run at ambient temperature
  • Can be employed with fresh and marine water environments


Plate-Based Analysis 

bacterial monitoring coliplateThe plate based analysis performed at EBPI Analytics is a convenient test for quantitative measurement of total Coliforms and E. Coli bacteria. The test conforms to EPA regulatory guidelines and can quantify the density of target bacteria ranging from 5 to 5,000 colony forming-units (cfu) per 100 ml sample without dilutions. The assay is a 96 well microplate kit and has shown comparable or superior sensitivity to the standard membrane filter technique, which has become the established standard internationally. Nutrient indicators X-Gal and MUG contained in the plate bottoms detect viable Coliforms and E. Coliby reacting with specific enzymes within the different bacterial species. The chromogenic and fluorogenic changes in the wells is measured visually and spectrophotometrically to give a quantitative indication of each species of bacterial contamination. 

To detect E. coli -  Test substrates react with Beta-D-glucoronidase in E. Coli to produce a fluorescent chromogen 

To detect ColiformsTest substrates react with Beta-D-galactosidase in Coliforms to produce a visual blue-green colour change.                  

The plate method:    

  • Has increased sensitivity over other screening methods recognized internationally
  • Produces quantitative measure of total Coliforms and E. Coli bacteria.
  • Is designed to meet regulatory guidelines for surface water, recreational water (drinking water), and wastewater

NOTE: All samples submitted for bacterial characterization (WTC identification procedure) will be processed with plate-based analysis first to ensure bacterial presence. This makes certain that clients do not pay to test blanks samples.


Bacterial Characterization

bacterial monitoring characterization

To characterize bacterial contamination, EBPI Analytics, in partnership with Microbial Insights, is offering a testing service called microbial source tracking (MST). This procedure employs culture-independent methods for more accurate water quality assessment and identification of bacterial contamination sources. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) is the molecular technology used for this assay to detect and quantify specific target DNA markers. These markers are unique for different organisms even in complex mixtures of non-target DNA sequences. The total DNA (or RNA) is extracted directly from an environmental sample, and qPCR assays are performed to quantify source-associated (e.g. human, cow, goose) genetic markers. The entire process will identify the source of fecal pollution present in the sample.   

bacterial characterization labpipe

Advantages of the MST method:

  • Offers rapid characterization of bacterial colonies in submitted samples
  • Provides source tracing for water effluent samples and environmental contamination assays
  • Can be used to verify remediation projects
  • Has been used extensively to locate contamination sites and provide crucial details to improve environmental safe-guards and regulations