Verification of growth of micro-organisms


ITC Laboratories has introduced a new test that will be of particular use to those who supply products intended to come into contact with drinking water.

On 16.12.2020, the EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND COUNCIL DIRECTIVE (EU) 2020/2184 on the quality of water intended for human consumption was issued. This new legislative act, applicable throughout the EU, imposes requirements on the quality of drinking water and now also on materials in contact with drinking water. Typically, this includes pipes, fittings, valves, but also waterworks equipment, tank coatings, etc.

Article 11 of Directive 2020/2184 sets out the minimum hygiene requirements for materials in contact with water intended for human consumption, with reference to Annex V which, among other things, sets out the scope of testing for individual materials intended to come into contact with water. One of the parameters that will be mandatory for organic materials (plastics, rubbers, coatings, ion-exchange resins, cementitious materials if they contain an organic component, etc.) is verification of the support for the growth of micro-organisms.

The aim of testing of this new parameter is to determine whether the material does not support excessive growth of micro-organisms on its surface (so-called biofilm formation).

In order to verify this requirement, we have introduced in our laboratories a micro-organism growth simulation test, which is standardized in Europe through the standard EN 16421 Influence of materials on water for human consumption – Enhancement of microbial growth (EMG).

The principle of the test is to contact the sample with drinking water for three months and then determine the degree of microorganism growth promotion on its surface.


MUDr. Beáta Janoušková