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Microorganism identification

Microorganism identification and characterisation

Identification and characterisation of microorganisms is a key part of the management of food safety and quality, tracing contaminants and troubleshooting problems such as spoilage. Identification of an unknown species that you have encountered can help to assess whether it poses a safety/spoilage concern or is likely to be heat resistant, for example.

Sometimes, however, you need to know more - including where a contaminant came from. Many organisms occupy a diverse range of habitats, and so the only way of knowing the origins of a particular contaminant is to identify/characterise it to a specific strain and then match that with a strain elsewhere in the environment or in a particular food ingredient.

Campden BRI is a world leader in this type of work, utilising state-of-the-art molecular (DNA-based) biochemical and phenotypic methods - picking those that best solve your problems. We can also offer back-up information as part of the service, such as details of possible sources of the problem organisms, or information about known food poisoning outbreaks.

Among the techniques we use are:

These are all in our Microbial identification and characterisation services brochure (5MB)

What do identification and characterisation entail?

Identification of microorganisms – provides the name of the organism (to genus or species level), which can help in determining whether it is a safety or spoilage concern or is likely to be heat resistant, for example.

Characterisation of microorganisms (typing) – this groups together organisms that share similar DNA fragment patterns or antigenic profiles, to assist with tracking or tracing contamination.

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  Contact us

If you would like further information please email us at or call our switchboard on +44(0)1386 842000 and they will be happy to direct your call to the relevant person.

Where we refer to UKAS Accreditation

The Campden BRI group companies listed below are both accredited in accordance with the recognised International Standard ISO/IEC 17025:2005 by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). The accreditation demonstrates technical competence for a defined scope of methods, specific to each site, as detailed in the schedules of accreditation bearing the testing laboratory number. The schedules may be revised from time to time and reissued by UKAS. The most recent issue of the schedules are available from the UKAS website

Campden BRI (Chipping Campden) Limited is a UKAS accredited testing laboratory No. 1079 Campden BRI (Nutfield) is a UKAS accredited testing laboratory No. 1207