Microbial Associates


Industrial Microbiology Consulting

Odor & slime problems lead to off spec products caused by bacteria & fungi. Environmental microbiology ]

Reasons fungal problems are not recognized include:

  • Typical metagenomics testing includes eubacteria and archea (fungi requires different set of testing)

  • Common plate counts or enumeration methods used are primarily for bacteria
  • Plate counts can be low in number as compared to bacterial colony counts 

  • Incubation periods insufficient. Fungi may take 5-7 days or more to grow on appropriate media

  • Fungi are physically large compared to bacteria. Low numbers can be significant

  • Counts vary widely depending on if the “colony forming unit” is a strand of cells in hyphal form or a spore head cluster. 
  • Fungi can be very fastidious (picky) about nutritional requirements. Not all species will grow, or even generate spore heads on generic fungal agars.  
  • Microscopy is not utilized as a diagnostic tool.

  • Debris from process additives can either mimic or hide fungi that are present in a biofilm deposit.
  • The hyphae may disappear by the time the samples are actually analyzed. Colored pigments may be the only evidence that fungi were the source of the problem. Be aware that fungi can be the source of pink/red or yellow spots as well as black and green and other colors.Consults on anaerobic bacteria odor, industrial microbiology,  and biocide 

Biocide anaerobic bacteria odor

Fungi/mold: often overlooked as a source of problems in industrial processes

Compared to bacteria, fungi tend to grow slowly and have the ability to grow under damp (low water activity) conditions.  They thrive at lower pH and form tough leathery deposits in misted areas and discolored spots on damp surfaces such as painted wood, pulp bales and gypsum board. The biocides used for fungal control often differ from those used to control bacteria.

Questions: contact Solving industrial microbiological problems worldwide.