ATP Bioluminescence as Means for Assessing Trailer Cleanliness
Proper washing and disinfection of swine transport trailers is an important step in maintaining biosecurity. This study examined the feasibility of using adenosine triphosphate (ATP) bioluminescence as a rapid and effective swine trailer cleanliness assessment tool. Samples were taken from newly-cleaned, dry trailers using an ATP swab by swabbing an area of 10 cm x 10 cm and were tested for microbial contamination level using an ATP bioluminescence meter. The results obtained from ATP testing were compared to the co-located samples taken using standard microbiological techniques with MacConkey and R2A agar contact plates (diameter Ø = 60 mm). From a total of more than 500 samples collected from 16 commercial swine transport trailers across Saskatchewan, a significant correlation (r = 0.206; p=0.001) was found between ATP bioluminescence method and standard microbiological technique using R2A agar plates. Lower correlation (r = 0.154; p=0.002) was observed between ATP method and MacConkey agar plate counts. Unlike R2A that detects a wider group of bacteria, MacConkey agar supports only the growth of selected gram-negative bacteria while ATP bioluminescence detects ATP from both microbial and organic sources.