What is a reasonable Bioburden limit?

S

s.parakos

#1
Our Sterilization validation report (gamma irradiation at 25kGy) contains the average bioburden on the samples tested, upon which the dose was set.

During regular bioburden monitoring the level obviously fluctuates. I was wondering if there is a rule of thumb which says what range is acceptable and at what level an investigation into the bioburden/dose setting should be triggered?

eg If 10 x the average bioburben is measured during monitoring an investigation is required.

thanks
Simon
 
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Ajit Basrur

Staff member
Admin
#2
Did you have a look at ISO 11737-3 - Sterilization of Medical Devices - Microbiological methods, Part 3 - Guidance on evaluation and Interpretation of Bioburden Data ?

I dont have this standard but feel you could get some valuable info from this standard.

Also have a look at Bioburden Testing that I found very interesting.
 
Last edited:

chris1price

Trusted Information Resource
#3
Hi

I'm not aware of any specific guidelines, other than average bioburden being below 1000cfu when using VDmax25. Bioburden will be a factor of the nature of the product and the process complexity.

I have always taken this to be a case for doing SPC and using Xbar/R charts to set limits and to look for process changes.

Chris
 

Ajit Basrur

Staff member
Admin
#4
Hi

I'm not aware of any specific guidelines, other than average bioburden being below 1000cfu when using VDmax25. Bioburden will be a factor of the nature of the product and the process complexity.

I have always taken this to be a case for doing SPC and using Xbar/R charts to set limits and to look for process changes.

Chris
Thats true Chris - even I have seen "average below 1000 cfu"
 
Q

Quality Priest

#6
Hi

I'm not aware of any specific guidelines, other than average bioburden being below 1000cfu when using VDmax25. Bioburden will be a factor of the nature of the product and the process complexity.

I have always taken this to be a case for doing SPC and using Xbar/R charts to set limits and to look for process changes.

Chris
Agree SPC is the way forward for setting your limits, some of our devices have upper limits of 25cfu where as others are around the 400cfu mark before prompting an investigation / root cause analysis etc.
I generally review each devices limits on an annual basis to see if we can lower the upper limits general rule for us is Average +3 standard deviations :2cents:
 
B

brandomenon

#7
I believe you still have to perform dose audits on a regular basis (quarterly or semi-annually depending on rational developed by your company). If you are getting acceptable results this helps to prove that the fluctuations are not negatively impacting the product.

I would also suggest looking into additional testing for worst case scenario. If you have characterized the bioburden (what kind of bugs do you have?), you should determine an upper limit of bioburden, and then repeat verification dose level processing on products that have been innoculated with the 'worst case' level of bioburden.

In doing this, if you get good results, you have the proof, as long as bioburden stays under 'worst case scenario' that your product is sterile.

If you use a contract irradiator, they should have validation experts who should be happy to let you pick their brain...
 
R

Richard88

#8
Hi, I'm new to this site and could not identify a newer thread nor figure out how to create a new one so here goes....

The info here is quite old and the standard listed is no longer available, its been discontinued howerver ISO 11737-1 is its replacement, so I'm lead to believe.

My question for everyone is a sanity check. In order to set a bioburden control limit can one use their validation bioburden level first then move to some other means once data becomes availble through more bioburden testing? What does everyone think the best way to get your ultimate mean?

Thanks
 

Doug Tropf

Quite Involved in Discussions
#9
Hi, I'm new to this site and could not identify a newer thread nor figure out how to create a new one so here goes....

The info here is quite old and the standard listed is no longer available, its been discontinued howerver ISO 11737-1 is its replacement, so I'm lead to believe.
ISO 11737-1:2006 specifies the requirements to be met in the determination of bioburden.
 
K

Kees Fremery

#10
Our Sterilization validation report (gamma irradiation at 25kGy) contains the average bioburden on the samples tested, upon which the dose was set.

During regular bioburden monitoring the level obviously fluctuates. I was wondering if there is a rule of thumb which says what range is acceptable and at what level an investigation into the bioburden/dose setting should be triggered?

eg If 10 x the average bioburben is measured during monitoring an investigation is required.

thanks
Simon

There are two different items to consider. The Periodic Dose audit for which the criterium is for failing or passing: the verification experiment. Next to that you have the Bioburden testing which should be seen as a monitoring. Increase in Bioburden and passing the Dose Audit: congratulations, but make an analysis of the cause. Increase of Bioburden is a warning which shoulde be considered seriously. Exceeding 1000 cfu: perform a new Dose Audit on the next batch immediately.

For any experience assistance in this, feel free to contact me.
I have many years experience in Gamma sterilisation validation and Microbiological testing according to ISO 11137.
 
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