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The Uses Of Dipslides; From Urine To Leather

Apr 4, 2008
Dipslides are an efficient and practical method of measuring levels of bacterial culture in liquids. Uses of dipslides vary greatly from industry to industry and are sometimes referred to as paddle testers in the medical profession. With bacteria being invisible we rely upon this kind of technology to tell us of harmful effects and infections, without dipslides, diagnosis and the safety of our water would be somewhat limited.

Sterile dipslides are perfect for microbiological testing in patient urine to other liquid sampling. They can be considered an affordable option in comparison to other methods of bacterial testing. However generally dipslides are used when bacteria is in high concentration, usually around one thousand to one hundred thousand CFU per millimetre of water; this is due to their relative inaccuracy. To find levels of contamination the slide is usually compared to a chart to ascertain contamination, this quick and easy method is ideal and can even be performed by non-skilled operatives.

The inaccuracy can be considered an inherent problem with the small size of the samples which are tested by dipslides. They more than make up for this lacking in accuracy however; for most applications they are a solution that is easy to use, sublimely convenient and also inexpensive. For many industries this is the ideal answer to their testing needs.

Dipslides are used to test for different types of bacteria. Some are used for the detection of aerobic bacteria such as yeast and mould. They can be used by either testing liquids or using the slide to swab surfaces; applications including testing the cleanliness of food preparation areas and hospital wards. The sample is quick and easy to take and after a one or two day incubation period can show results of microbial contamination.

Some types of dipslides can be used to detect sulphate reducing anaerobic bacteria. Perfect for uses in the water treatment industries where the detection of bacteria in water cooling systems as well as re-circulating systems can be extremely important in maintaining healthy bacteria levels in water. These self contained sterile testing units can be used extensively and at different points in the system to find out concentration levels at a variety of positions.

The main alternative to using dipslides is to use the cultural plate technique. Studies have shown in laboratory conditions the two perform in the same way and no clear advantage can be ascertained. However there are instances where the dipslides have come out on top. The use by general practitioners has obvious advantages with ease of use and patient confidentiality. Scientifically however the advantages are minimal, for those who want a simple testing solution that provides quick results; slides are most probably the answer.

Dipslides usually have a best before date of a period of around six to nine months. This however is rarely a definitive date as long as there is no shrinking of the testing surface or any other signs of other contamination. It is usually wise however to use 'in date' dipslides otherwise your results may be affected. In terms of storage the norm is around fifteen degrees in a dry room, unfortunately the slides will react to moisture in the air. Before dispatch they are normally treated at high temperatures to ensure that bacteria are not present on the testing surface and they are truly sterile.

Dipslides can be seen as the solution to modern testing problems; as such they are becoming increasingly used in a number of fields from the medical profession to the leather tanning industry. With fast results and a foolproof sampling method this increase in use is unsurprising.
About the Author
Testing expert Thomas Pretty looks into variety of uses of dipslides and the industries that use them regularly.
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