How does the Bactiquant method differ from ATP methods?

ATP is the high energy molecule in living cells that stores the energy that is needed for essentially all energy requiring processes in cells. ATP is present in all animal, plants, bacteria yeast and mould cells and detection of ATP may indicate the presence of contamination by any of these sources. The ATP method has been used for decades as a general rapid test for hygiene. There are some limitations to the use of the ATP method for quantifying bacterial presence in water systems.

Interpretation of ATP results is complicated by the existence of extra cellular ATP. In water samples, high concentrations of extra cellular ATP can often be detected. In order to measure the relevant ATP, it is necessary to open the bacterial cell and extract the cell-bound ATP. Cell-bound ATP is then estimated by subtracting extracellular ATP from the total ATP. Opening the cells and measurement of ATP is a complex chemical process. Furthermore, the ATP method is complicated by the use of an enzyme, lucerin luciferase, from the firefly. This enzyme is not a natural constituent of environmental samples, such as water samples. The complex chemistry of the ATP method makes the assay less robust and more prone to variation in analysis results. The interpretation of results are further complicated by variation due to differences between ATP products on the market. The Bactiquant measures the activity of a naturally occurring enzyme in bacteria. The method is based on a simple chemistry which does not require opening of the bacterial cells. A comparison of key  differences between Bactiquant and ATP are presented in the following table.

Parameter Comments Bactiquant ATP
Rapidity 30 min 2 min
Ease of use Moderately easy Very easy
Permeabilization of cells necessary No Yes
Reproducibility The robustness of assay chemistry High Low
The assay sensitive to water chemistry Low High
The overall reproducibility High Low
Specificity to Bacteria High No
US-EPA verification Yes No

How does Bactiquant compare to Heterotrophic plate counts?

Traditional plate counts are time consuming and cumbersome to perform and ultimately  provide very limited information about water treatment processes. This is primarily due to the fact that  the plate counts includes less than 1% of the bacteria present in a water sample and it does not include quantification of particle associated bacteria. Bactiquant-water has been developed  to overcome these drawbacks, The Bactiquant-water is based on a patented methodology that combines the benefits of concentrating bacteria from a large volume of water on a filter, with the use of a highly sensitive fluorescence technology. The result is a rapid and sensitive method for quantification of total bacteria, reducing analysis time from days to minutes. The analysis result includes all relevant bacterial groups present in a water sample, as well as particle associated bacteria. These features are very important when looking at optimizing water treatment processes and provide relevant information on the general water microbiological quality.

Bactiquant-water Applications

  • Source water/raw water quality
  • Water Plant (Operations, process control)
  • Industrial Process Water (CIP, Food stuff production)
  • Distribution Systems (Finished water, WSP)
  • Verification HACCP
  • Sustainable Systems (Recycle and closed loops systems)
  • Technical water (Electronics, cooling towers, humidification)
  • Tracking and delineating pollution events
  • Effluents
  • Recreational water
  • Aquaculture
  • Water Biostability Assessment

Bactiquant Water applications

Read more here