Detection of microorganisms

At Fraunhofer IGB, we have developed standardized microbiological detection and assessment methods and adapted them to different questions, for example, to check the hygienic status of technical surfaces, to examine treated water for microbial germs and thus to drinking water quality, to evaluate antimicrobial or photocatalytically effective material surfaces.

For the detection of microorganisms, we use standardized conventional procedures.

For the specific application, we also develop new detection methods, for example in the PHOIBE project.




Detection methods

Standard procedures

  • Japanese Industrial Standard JIS 2801
  • Agar diffusion test
  • ASTM standards (ASTM 21-09)
  • American Military Standard Mil-Std-810F

Other procedures

Practice has shown that these standard procedures do not always meet the requirements of research and development. The spectrum has therefore been extended:

  • Screening tests for antimicrobially active substances (agar diffusion test), which are already used in the selection of components, but also for orientative investigations
  • An adhesion test for the assessment of adhesion properties and biofilm formation under static and dynamic conditions has been established.
  • Various flow cell models are available to take into account the influence of flow properties during the investigations.
  • Further application-oriented as well as open-air tests have been developed and tested in recent years and adapted for numerous different applications.


Investigation of the microbiological quality of water

According to the World Health Organization, 3.4 million people die every year from diseases caused by contaminated water. Numerous infectious diseases can be transmitted via drinking water. The microbiological quality of water also plays a role here, for example in the introduction of new technologies for water treatment.

At Fraunhofer IGB, we check hygienically relevant parameters of filtration processes under defined conditions and adapt the detection methods for germs to special conditions if required.


Reference projects

PHOIBE – Laser-optical detection of pathogens and toxins to protect drinking water from biological threats and pandemics

The joint project Phoibe aims at the realization of a modularly constructed functional demonstrator for the laboratory-independent automated in-line analysis of contaminated water. The goal is to identify bacterial and toxins by means of laser spectroscopy at high sensitivity without prior sample preparation in a lab.


Duration: October 2015 – September 2018