Microbial Pathogen Screening
Pathogenic bacteria can pose serious health risks to humans, especially for those with compromised immune systems. Respiratory problems, gastroenteritis, and diarrhea are just some of the side effects of inhaling or consuming microorganisms. It’s imperative to test the final product to ensure it is free from any microorganisms that may have been introduced during cultivation, transportation, manufacturing, or storage.
For inhalable products, we test for salmonella species, shiga toxin-producing e. coli (STEC), and aspergillus (flavus, fumigatus, niger, and terreus) pathogens. For non-inhalable products, we test for salmonella and shiga toxin-producing e. coli (STEC).
What is pathogenic bacteria?
Pathogenic bacteria are unicellular microorganisms that cause disease. While most bacteria are harmless and often work in symbiosis with the human body, there are several species that cause great harm. That is why testing for the presence of these dangerous organisms is required.
Pathogens we test for include:
There are two species of Salmonella bacteria: Salmonella enterica and Salmonella bongori. Salmonella species are intracellular pathogens that can cause illness in humans. Food and water can become contaminated with the bacteria if they come into contact with the feces of infected people or animals. Salmonella usually invade only the gastrointestinal tract and cause salmonellosis, the symptoms of which can be resolved without antibiotics. However, Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and lead to sepsis, a life-threatening condition that requires intensive care, including IV antibiotics. Salmonella can be deadly to immunocompromised patients using cannabis and hemp products.
Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria normally live in the intestines of people and animals. Most E. coli are harmless and are an important part of a healthy human intestinal tract. However, some E. coli are pathogenic, meaning they can cause illness. Some E. coli cause disease by making a toxin called Shiga toxin. The bacteria that make these toxins are called “Shiga toxin-producing” E. coli, or STEC for short. This pathotype is the one most commonly heard about in the news in association with foodborne outbreaks. Symptoms often include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. Some infections are very mild, but others are severe or even life-threatening. STEC live in the guts of ruminant animals, such as cattle. The use of cattle manure is often how cannabis becomes contaminated with STEC.
Aspergillosis is an infection caused by Aspergillus, a common mold (a type of fungus) that lives indoors and outdoors. The types of health problems caused by Aspergillus include allergic reactions, lung infections, and infections in other organs. Most cases of acute aspergillosis occur in people with severely compromised immune systems, which is why cannabis and hemp products must be safety-tested to ensure products are approved for medicinal use by patients.
HOW DO WE TEST?
Highly sensitive PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technology is used to screen for the presence of these bacteria at a genetic level.