Specialist Microbiology Services

Microbiology is an intricate and complicated science. All too often, contract testing laboratories perform routine testing well but when a crisis arises or more in-depth work is required, they are unable to fully support their customers who are then left to fend for themselves and seek out alternative service providers. In response to this, The Specialist Microbiology Team was created.

Based at our Rotherham site, The Specialist Micro Department is a dedicated team of technical experts able to provide a variety of bespoke microbiology services as part of a genuine ‘One-stop Shop’ solution. The team carries out a wide range of bespoke trials including challenge tests, validation projects, and investigative microbiology studies. If the project you have in mind doesn’t fit neatly into an existing ALS service, or it requires that extra level of attention and care, then we encourage you to get in touch with us so we can discuss your needs and exactly how we can best help you move forward.


Salmonella Check & Trace® Serology

If your product sample has been identified as having a positive Salmonella result, we can arrange for a colony isolate to be taken from the retained slope and sent to Rotherham from whichever ALS laboratory carried out the original Salmonella test. The colony isolate does not need to be refrigerated and can therefore be transported via a specialist external courier. This will ensure that the Check & Trace® analysis can be progressed as quickly as possible.

This is a UKAS, AOAC-RI and OIE accredited rapid genetic test and is offered with a choice of turnaround times: either a standard turnaround of 5 days or a priority turnaround of <3 days.

ALS Microbiology team

Challenge Test Studies

Practical studies performed to assess the ability of a product to sustain the growth of target micro-organisms across the intended shelf life. These studies can be used to challenge new formulations, extend the shelf life of products and demonstrate compliance with regulations such as EC 2073/2005. A detailed project proposal custom made to each trial describes the testing schedule, ensuring that the client has a clear picture of the all aspects of the trial to be carried out. At the completion of a project, a thorough report is produced for a deep dive into the details of the trial, complete with an executive summary that provides a succinct summary of the results at a glance.

Bespoke Specialist Shelf Life Trials

When specific parameters beyond the scope of a contract lab are required, the specialist team is on hand to provide the tailored service needed. We are able to store products at non-standard conditions, carry out product assembly procedures, abuse steps and more. Results can be provided as certificates of analyses akin to those received in standard routine micro testing and/or as detailed project reports, similar to those described above, to assist the client in evaluating the stability of a product throughout its shelf life.

Process - Product - Systems Validations

Trials aimed at demonstrating the ability of a certain process or product to consistently achieve defined parameters. Previous projects have involved testing new wash solutions as part of a process control procedure, disinfectant efficacy testing against BS EN Standards, and the effects of storage or cooking processes on the microbial load of products.

Listeria strain typing

Using MALDI-TOF we are able to get resolution beyond species for Listeria isolates, making this testing an excellent tool in source tracking and outbreak investigation. This service is faster and more economical than traditional Ribotyping, providing results in as little as 3 days.

Bacterial, Yeast or Mould identification services

We utilise a broad selection of molecular, biochemical and traditional techniques to identify practically any organism.

E.coli O157 Detection by PCR

A premium UKAS accredited detection test for one of the most notorious food pathogens. The sensitivity of PCR technology, combined with the rapid turnaround time of this test sets it apart from other E.coli O157 tests.

Why use ALS?

  • Proven track record in the delivery of reliable results:
    » Bacterial ID's - 3 day TAT
    » Yeast and Mould IDs - 10 day TAT
    » Check & Trace® Salmonella serology 5 day and 3 day TAT
    » E.coli O157 by PCR is Next day or same day TAT
  • We are responsive to our clients' needs and offer a service that you can rely on.
  • A bespoke premium service with a high attention to quality ensuring operational excellence and delivery of accurate and precise results.
  • Delivery of regular technical training to our own team members and also to our client base. Training courses and webinars offered to strengthen your team’s knowledge by sharing our experience & knowledge with you.
  • The Specialist Micro Team provides that personal touch, with all projects discussed, developed and carried out by a dedicated team that is only a phone call away.

Aside from Bespoke projects, the Specialist Team also offers a series of investigative testing solutions that serve as a next step when a pathogen is detected in routine micro testing and further work is required.

Microbiology information


For further information please contact our Specialist Micro Team at Rotherham:

Email: [email protected]

Tel: +44 (0)1709 777329