Life in the Lab – Microbiology Analyst

Part of my Life in the Lab Series.

Here I summarise what each of my scientific roles have entailed.

As a Microbiology Analyst, what does the day entail?

07:00 (every 6 months or so)

  • Collect jugular blood (for heparin testing) from sheep as they are culled in an abattoir

10:30 hrs -Start shift

  • Check daily roster
  • Control Schedule 8 Drugs (issue, receive and dispose) and ensure figures align
  • Conduct viable environmental monitoring of class 100 / 10 000 (A/B) cleanrooms
  • Check all validation tags on incubators, thermometers, water baths, laminar flow hoods, air samplers and anything else requiring periodic re-certification
  • Read previous days’ environmental monitoring media (contact plates, ait strips, swabs, print plates, bioburden samples, WFI samples) – record results and bring any out of limit results to the attention of supervisor
  • Sample cooling towers for Legionella
  • Update documentation
  • Update  viable environmental monitoring diagrams

12:00hrs – 15 minute break

  • Sample WFI from mixing rooms, washing rooms, packing rooms while checking and recording temperature of water
  • Return to lab and place sample bottles in fridge
  • Process any room monitoring swabs returned from production after wiping down laminar flow hood with sterile wipe ad 70% IPA (monitor cleanrooms while in production if assigned task – here ensure room airlock differentials are within limits and visually inspect everything for integrity and observer if production staff following established procedures)
  • Prepare and filter WFI samples
  • Prepare and filter bioburden samples (in process samples taken from production, both pre and post filter) – conduct method validation when necessary, including update or creation of documentation
  • Conduct validation of Sampling equipment including writing of Validation Report
  • Conduct investigative monitoring of cleanrooms, water system airlocks and other
  • Train staff in sampling techniques
  • Enter viable environmental monitoring data into LIMS system and product reports / check others’ entries
  • Read / examine sterile media fill samples for any positives
  • Setup and conduct container closure testing

14:00hrs – 45 minute lunch

  • LAL / endotoxin testing of WFI samples
  • Monitor mixing and washing rooms that I’ve decided to do today (I have a week to capture all rooms on a rotational grid basis – again ensure room airlock differentials are within limits and visually inspect everything for integrity)
  • More swab processing
  • Prepare and filer WFI samples
  • Sample production operator’s gown and prints as part of validation and on going certification
  • Start autoclave run
  • More swab processing
  • Determine filling schedule for tomorrow – prepare sampling forms and environmental monitoring media for the next day.  Label everything

16:30hrs – 15 minute break

  • Process rubber bungs as part of production autoclave cycle validation
  • Conduct viable environmental monitoring of class 100 / 10 000 (A/B) cleanrooms
  • Sample compressed air for bioload
  • More swab processing
  • Assist dedicated bacteriologist with bacteriology
  • Conduct incoming quality assurance on biological indicators (both strips and liquid)
  • Ensure waste bins not filled past line
  • Redesign and (re)validate autoclave loading patterns

19:00 – Depart for home

Roles Held

Microbiology Technician – Microbiology Analyst – Sterile Microbiology Team Leader / Microbiology OfficerQuality Assurance MicrobiologistNon Sterile Microbiology Team Leader