Like you, we understand that Proficiency Testing/Quality Assurance/Quality Control for the labs you rely on is of paramount importance when you seek a professional service.
To this end we operate in accordance with ISO 17025 and are active participants in the AIHA EMPAT Fungal Spore Analysis Proficiency Testing program, having achieved and held “Proficient” status for over 3 years now. In addition, three of our staff have completed the McCrone Research Institute’s IAQ Fungal Spore Course, both Basic & Advanced.
In 2009 our Laboratory Director, David Lark, attended CBS, in Utrecht and undertook Prof. Rob Samson’s Food & Indoor Fungal Culture Identification Course. The reference text for that course is our laboratory reference manual for the culture & identification of moulds to genera & species by traditional methods.
Additionally, David completed the CBS Medical Mycology Course conducted by Prof. Sebren de Hoog recently in November, 2015 – studying over 600 pathogenic yeast & mould species.
The Standards and Guidelines we utilise routinely for the delivery of the services we offer you include the relevant ASTM Methods for Bio-Tapes, Air-O-Cells and other Spore Traps and those prescribed by ISO 16000 for the collection of airborne bacteria & moulds and their culture, counting and identification.
Several laboratories who also undertake viable culture use single media for the growth of moulds, despite the advice offered by consensus publications which advocate the use of at least 2 media to ensure a more sensitive detection of the full spectrum of mould which may be present – we are proud to say we routinely use 3 fungal media for all samples processed for culturable fungi at NSJ Enviro.
In order to provide an active system of culture collection & maintenance, we have reference cultures obtained from recognised sources, held below -80oC on Cryobeads, so that positive & negative growth and recoveries can be run on all of the batches of media we produce, also assisting with the best training & QA/QC from our staff that is possible.
We also have developed an in-house training and assessment program for our microscopists, based on a library of over 200 known moulds, plus selected real world slides, showing organisms of interest based on these and the accumulated endorsed images from EMPAT. In addition, both senior staff conduct routine quality assessment programs covering Bio-Tape & Spore Trap readings by the rest of our analysts, with a minimum of 10% re-reads, covering both quantitative and IDs.
Because traditional culture IDs are demanding and time consuming we are establishing an automated system that identifies over 2800 bacterial species and some 600 filamentous moulds & yeasts of interest. It IDs aerobic and anaerobic bacteria in under 2 days and even IDs slow growing moulds in just a few days. Using this method, a confirmatory identification can be undertaken to species without the delay of traditional methods. Difficult organisms, especially the huge spectra of environmental isolates, we send for sequencing and incorporate them into the database.
Finally, we use Mould Specific Quantitative PCR (MSqPCR) at present – Please see our ERMI page for more info!
Hope this is sufficient to convince you, our clients, that we are at the forefront of environmental microbiology and mycology in Australia.