What is ATP Testing?

ATP monitoring is a rapid testing method used by many companies to quickly assess the cleanliness of surfaces or liquid samples.

Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is present in all organic material and is the universal unit of energy used in all living cells. ATP is produced and/or broken down in metabolic processes in all living systems. Processes such as photosynthesis in plants, muscle contraction in humans, respiration in fungi, and fermentation in yeast are all driven by ATP. Therefore, most foods and microbial cells will contain some level of naturally occurring ATP.

Hygiena luminometers (in conjunction with ATP swabs) use bioluminescence to detect residual ATP as an indicator of surface cleanliness. The presence of ATP on a surface indicates improper cleaning and the presence of contamination, including food residue, allergens and/or bacteria. This implies a potential for the surface to harbor and support bacterial growth.

ATP monitoring can be used in food and beverage, hospitals and heathcare facilities, following water damage or mould/bio remediation, to confirm that ATP presence is eliminated or minimized by effective sanitation procedures. ATP monitoring prevents cross-contamination, ensures product integrity, potentially improves product shelf life, protects brand reputation, and complies with regulatory requirements.

How does bioluminescence work?

Bioluminecsence is the result of a biochemical reaction and is the science behind Hygiena ATP detection tests. The reaction includes the following elements:

  • Luciferase enzyme- naturally occurring in fireflies, or synthetically manufactured
  • Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) - the energy molecule of all living organisms
  • Oxygen- a catalyst
  • Luicferin- a molecule that undergoes a chemical charge when affixed by an enzyme

ATP + Luciferin + Luciferase + O2 == == Light output

The reaction occurs in two steps: The substrate combines with ATP and oxygen, which is controlled by the enzyme. The chemical energy in step 1 excites a specific molecule (the combination of Luciferin and Luciferase). The result is decay which is manifested as photon emission, or light production. The light is simply a by-product of the chemical reaction and does not depend on light.

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