Establishment of an environmental microbiological monitoring program in a mice barrier facility

Abstract Rodents used in biomedical research are maintained behind barriers to exclude microbial contaminants. Several check points have to be monitored to eliminate the potential of introducing adventitious agents into the facility. Microbiological monitoring of a mouse facility environment enables to evaluate the efficiency of sanitization and cleaning procedures, air quality, and technician good practices. At our SPF mouse facility, we implemented an environmental microbiological monitoring program based in sedimentation and swabbing, inexpensive and easy to use methods. The aim of this work was to evaluate the results and the efficiency of the monitoring program after seven years. The median for bacteria and fungi counts in the SPF sampled areas was ≤2 CFU/2 h for settle plates and <1 CFU per swabbing plate, satisfying the requirements for grade C of the EU-GMP, with some modifications. The environmental monitoring program was useful to detect early warning of problems and enabled us to define a safe range of microbiological counts. In addition, SPF status defined for our mice was maintained throughout this study, confirmed by our HM program. This work could encourage directors and technicians of other mouse facilities in Latin America and rest of the world to implement this kind of program.