Testing Services

Food Safety: Green and Clean Approaches - Studying Microbial Contamination of Produce and Other Foods from Farm to Fork



Contamination Routes and Stressors Being Explored

  • Soil
  • Dust
  • Irrigation Water
  • Seed
  • Sunlight/UV
  • Plant antimicrobials, organic sanitizers, edible films
  • Animal and Bird Feces
  • Compost/Compost teas
  • Harvesting and Handling
  • Post harvest sanitization 

Studies Being Conducted

  • Bacterial survival in and transfer via Soil, Irrigation Water, Manure, Compost, Compost Teas
  • Bacterial attachment, attachment strength, internalization in produce
  • Biofilm formation on produce contact surfaces
  • Efficacy of plant antimicrobials, organic sanitizers and edible films against foodborne pathogens
  • Sanitizer development, sanitizer evaluation, large scale testing
  • Probiotics application in aquaculture
  • Antibiotic resistance among foodborne pathogens in food production environments


Specialized Equipment/Microorganisms

  • Plant Growth Chamber
  • Biophotonic Imager
  • PCR, q-PCR, Droplet Digital PCR
  • Confocal Microscope
  • Microplate Reader
  • Bioluminescent, Fluorescent and Antibiotic Resistant Strains
  • Bacterial Viability Assessment Stains
  • Large Scale Simulation



Testing Capabilities

  • Microbiological Quality of Produce
  • Tests for coliforms, Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria
  • PCR- Molecular Confirmation
  • Serological/Biochemical Confirmation
  • GAP- Good Agricultural Practice Evaluation
  • Sanitizer Development and Evaluation
  • Shelf-life Testing
  • Product Evaluation and Process Validation
  • Testing for aflatoxin in foods





Food Microbiological Testing in Dr. Sadhana Ravishankar's Laboratory

Price List below - note that price listing does not include administrative fee of 18%; administrative fee is not charged to UA departments. Consulting fees are also not included.

Bacterial Population

This test results in an enumeration of the total aerobic bacterial population of a sample. The results can be applied to internal acceptance criteria for a product or environmental HACCP samples. Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.

Antimicrobial Efficacy

Antimicrobial effectiveness test is a valuable tool for evaluating either intrinsic antimicrobial properties, or different types and levels of added antimicrobial agents. We can test the efficacy of any type of antimicrobial agent.

Sanitation Validation

To ensure that the sanitation procedure is being performed effectively validation should be done periodically. We can analyze for basic microbial contaminants to verify proper cleaning.

Microbial Shelf-life Studies

We can test the effects of microbial load on product’s shelf life for various types of foods including fresh produce, juices, meats and poultry, seafood, and dairy products.

Total Coliforms & E. coli

Coliforms are often referred to as indicator organisms, their presence in the environment can indicate that conditions are favorable for pathogens to be present. The presence of generic E. coli in a sample indicates fecal contamination. The Total Coliform/E. coli test is a fast inexpensive way to assess the cleanliness of an environment or food, and can also be used to collect information regarding the potential for other contamination.

Screening for Foodborne Pathogenic Bacteria

We can perform several foodborne pathogen screens from foods including:

    • Escherichia coli O157:H7

    • Salmonella enterica

    • Listeria monocytogenes

    • Staphylococcus aureus

    • Campylobacter jejuni

    • Enterobacter sakazakii

Surface and Air Sampling

We can perform sampling for microbial contaminants on various food contact surfaces and in the processing environment (air).   

Aflatoxin Testing

We can analyze the aflatoxin content in various food products.

Sensory Evaluation of Food Products

The sensory quality of a food product is the most important factor influencing its success in the marketplace. We can test the consumer acceptability of a food product by using trained and untrained panels of various ages.

Consumer Outreach

We can publish, deliver and promote research results by posters, demos/displays at community events, seminars and workshops.

Price List

Test Price per Sample - prices do not include 18% administrative fee or report fees; administrative fee is not charged to UA departments
Microbiology tests  
Total Coliforms $35
Escherichia coli $30
E. coli O157:H7 $55
Salmonella $50
Listeria monocytogenes $50
Staphylococcus aureus $35
Campylobacter jejuni $100
Enterobacter sakazaki $55
Yeast and Mold $25
Lactic acid bacteria $25
Food safety tests  
Aflatoxin $50
pH $20
Sensory Evaluation $30/product/person
Consumer Outreach $200/session/hour
Fees for other projects (e.g. shelf life studies, antimicrobial efficacy, sanitation validation, etc.) are negotiable based on specific requirements.