Balancing Act Between Outsourced and In‑house Culture Media Manufacture

By Gill Power

Cleanroom Technology 

Cherwell Laboratories was featured in an article in the March 2018 issue of Cleanroom Technology magazine.  In the article we put across the argument for prepared media versus in-house manufacturing of culture media. 

Here’s an extract from the article:

High quality culture media is essential for the pharmaceutical and the cleanroom sectors to achieve accurate, reproducible and repeatable microbial tests for applications such as environmental monitoring, process and operator validation, and product sterility testing. Andrew Ramage, microbiology product specialist at Cherwell Laboratories, argues the case for pre-prepared media versus in-house manufacturing…

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The article covers the following aspects relating to the preparation of culture medium: 

Consistency and quality of culture media: 

Good suppliers of culture media will follow a stringent process in cultivating media for bacteria. Quality is assured through the consistent use of a variety of general-purpose media, including nutrient agar, tryptic soy agar, blood agar, etc.

The consistency and quality of culture media supplied by an external, reputable source will be consistently high as reputable sources will be able to scale orders according to their clients’ demands. Also, Agar plates will have been conditioned before packing, removing all excess moisture in the plate pack.

Testing and validation:

Media manufacturers must ensure that both formulation and testing standards meet the relevant regulatory guidelines. 

Many benefits come along with using an external source of lab products. These include cost, timesaving and staff resources. One example of this is that there will be minimal or no need for equipment maintenance, this could reduce costs associated with cleanroom design.

A reputable manufacturer will ensure that the selected media is suitably packed and validated for storage, for the duration of its shelf-life.

Additionally, a good supplier can produce bespoke solutions in smaller batches, eliminating the need to adjust formulations or purchase less readily available raw materials and nutrients required to make it.

Effective transport and storage:

External suppliers of prepared media are often aces at storing and transporting your culture media so that it stays sterile and in optimal condition for the growth of microorganisms. A further advantage to using an external supplier is that packaging can be designed to meet your business’ needs, ensuring that it can best support the type of media including nutrient broths, nutrient agar and other enriched media. 

To get further insight into the debate about in-house manufactured prepared media versus externally sourced prepared media, you can download our in-depth guide to Prepared Culture Media.


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