Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Bacterial Diversity of Pharmaceutical Clean Rooms Analyzed by the Fatty Acid Methyl Ester Technique

Clean rooms are largely employed in pharmaceutical companies whose purpose is to produce sterile drugs and devices. We employed Gram staining and gas chromatography of fatty acid methyl esters extracted from whole cells of environmental isolates to characterize and identify bacteria isolated in each of 50 different clean rooms designed for the manufacturing of sterile medicinal products and to provide a fatty acid profile of the most common species of isolated bacteria. Statistical analysis allowed us to corroborate previous studies and confirm that Gram-positive cocci are the most relevant group of microorganisms inside the studied clean rooms. The predominant species is Micrococcus luteus, isolated from Grade B zones and from personnel, followed by Staphylococcus cohnii in Grade C, Bacillus subtilis in Grade A, and S. hominis in Grade D. Fatty acid profiles of these bacteria are, to a great extent, consistent with standard libraries. We also attempted to establish a correlation between season and level of contamination, although variance analysis showed that there is no significant difference on the level of contamination throughout seasons. Therefore, we believe that this work can contribute to identifying and understanding the bacterial community of some pharmaceutical clean rooms.

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