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Dairy/Milk Testing Instruments Measure Bacterial Levels

MOCON, Inc. is now making its new GreenLight® instrumentation available for dairy applications. The breakthrough oxygen-depleting technology for measuring aerobic bacterial levels can provide results for raw milk between 30 minutes and five hours. This compares to 48- to 72-hours required by the traditional, agar-based, standard plate count method.

The GreenLight® series was developed to deliver fast and precise bacterial load results in a cost-effective manner. Although other technologies exist which also offer fast results, their high cost-of-entry makes them cost-prohibitive for most companies.

GreenLight® instruments are ideal for anyone involved in raw milk testing including dairies, cooperatives, laboratories and farmers. They also provide valuable information for downstream processing, such as cheese making, when milk is a primary component.

"Raw milk testing is a time consuming processes that removes resources from other value-adding activities. GreenLight's speed, simplicity, precision and low-cost entry is an ideal productivity-enhancing tool," said Alan Traylor, business manager, food safety products, MOCON.

To conduct the test, the milk sample is simply poured into a bar-coded APCheck(TM) vial, which has built-in sensor material. Raw milk has sufficient nutrients so that added buffers/reagents or dilutions are not required before testing, unlike traditional testing methods which require three dilutions.

When the company's fully automated GreenLight® 930 is used, the vials can be batch loaded onto the 48-position carousel, or individually loaded at any time during the unit's "continuous" mode. As bacteria in the test sample multiply and respire, they consume oxygen. The change in oxygen is used to calculate the milk's colony forming units per milliliter. (Bacterial load is calculated in the PC and stored to a secure data base.)

There is also a smaller, more compact GreenLight® 910 which makes it easier for dairy farmers to use closer to the milk source.

"Since raw milk producers are compensated based on the bacterial level, it's important to be able to produce precise and fast results prior to pooling and/or transport. GreenLight® can make that happen in an affordable manner," Traylor said.

MOCON is now making the rapid GreenLight® assay with its dedicated reader available across the globe. The objective is to help improve dairy hygiene and assist farmers in obtaining the best price for their milk.

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