Sometimes the work in the cellar lab can be repetitive and tedious, but every step of the filtration process requires special attention to avoid contamination that can threaten an entire batch of wine.
“The more you improve your handling, the less contaminated you are and the less you have to rework,” says Myriam Gueye, Segment Marketing Manager at Sartorius.
“At Sartorius, we always focus on solutions for the customer,” adds Juliane Großmann, Product Manager Microbiology. “We try to solve the problems of our customers, which we know from their feedback and because we are in the lab ourselves. “
Sartorius, the world’s largest manufacturer of premium filters for the biopharmaceutical and beverage industries, recently completed a time-saving study on microbial enumeration filtration products and processes. Their technicians evaluated lab procedures step by step to find ways to streamline workflow and save time.
“Some wineries still use traditional, reusable stainless steel equipment instead of single-use filtration units,” says Großmann. “The same goes for the media they prepare. We have found that single-use or ready-to-use media offer considerable time savings in the testing procedure.
The left bar on this graph from the Sartorius study shows how long it takes to use stainless steel funnels with a one-component membrane filter. Technicians should autoclave and flambé after each filtration to remove secondary contaminants and place a filter on the rack with forceps before pouring the sample and filtering it. They then rinse with sterile water, remove the filter with forceps and place it on the pad in the Petri dish to be tested.
If the cellar switches to a distributor filter, it can save 10% of this time (second bar). Upgrading to the Biosart® 100 Monitor Microbiological and Analytical Filtration Unit (third bar) saves you a third of the time, and the addition of Biosart® @Filter 100 sterile disposables increases those savings to 43%.
The following table shows the difference between using individual sterile filters and a dispenser that takes the sterile filters straight out of the package. A technician can save 38% of her time if she uses the Big Pack dispenser.
The preparation of agar plates, which some wineries do themselves, also offers opportunities to save time. The first column of this table shows the time typically spent preparing agar plates while baking and cooling the powder. The second column shows that it takes longer to cook and plate agar in the bottle.
“You can see how long it takes if you prepare all the plates yourself,” says Großmann. “Compare the first two bars with the last bar, which is the time needed when using ready-to-use agar plates. You can see how much time you can save. And you don’t need to store the media in the refrigerator like normal agar plates.
What lab technician wouldn’t appreciate being able to perform more tests in less time? Which winery isn’t looking for a way to cut operating costs and address post-COVID labor shortages? And which lab manager doesn’t hope to make test results more reproducible?
“Our goal is to make life easier for our customers,” says Gueye. “Wineries can save time with a simpler way of working. The time they save allows them to do more testing, develop new methods, or release batches hours or days earlier. Less repetitive activities mean people will be more engaged and less likely to get bored. We offer all of these products to our customers, including the stainless steel funnels, so hopefully wineries will use this information to choose the best process for their winery.
To learn more about the Sartorius Time Saving Study, visit the Sartorius website or be contacted by a Sartorius expert.
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