Sponge swabs increase sensitivity of sterility testing of processed bone and tendon allografts
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Sterility testing is the Wnal, and critical, step in quality control of tissue banking. It informs the decision whether to release the tissue allografts for clinical use, or not. The most common method for sterility testing of structural bone and tendon allografts is to swab using cotton tip streaks. This method provides low recovery eYciency; and therefore may pass allografts with low bioburden, providing false negatives. Our pilot data revealed organism recovery eYciencies of 60, 30 and 100% from cotton swab, membrane Wltration and sponge swaps, respectively. Our aim was to develop a high sensitivity sterility test for structural bone and tendon allografts using a sponge sampling method. Eighty-one bone and tendon allograft samples were inoculated with organism suspensions (102 or less organisms per 0.1 mL) of Clostridium sporogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Candida albicans, Bacillus subtilis, Aspergillus niger, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Micrococcus spp. Nasco sponges (4 㠸 cm) were used to aseptically sample the whole surface of allograft samples. The sponges were cut in half and cultured in either tryptone soya or Xuid thioglycollate broths for 14 days. Positive culture samples were further examined for microbial morphology. The results showed that the sensitivity of the method, and negative predictive value, is 100% for all inoculated organisms incubated with thioglycollate. We conclude that this sponge sampling method should be applied as the standard for sterility testing of structural bone and tendon allografts.
Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology