Method for qualifying microbial removal performance of 0.1 micron rated filters. Part IV: Retention of hydrogenophaga pseudoflava (ATCC 700892) and Ralstonia pickettii (ATCC 700591) by 0.2 and 0.22 micron rated filters

PDA J Pharm Sci Technol. 2002 May-Jun;56(3):150-71.


Ralstonia pickettii has emerged as a bioburden microorganism of considerable importance in pharmaceutical processes utilizing conventional 0.2 or 0.22 micron rated "sterilizing grade" filters. In this article, we re-evaluated and studied the retention efficiencies of 0.2 micron rated nylon 6.6 and 0.22 microns rated modified polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) filters for Hydrogenophaga pseudoflava (ATCC 700892) and R. pickettii (ATCC 700591). Out of a total of forty-four 0.2/0.22 micron rated filters discs tested in this study (spanning different challenge fluids, different challenge conditions, and different filter types), H. pseudoflava penetration was observed for every filter disc tested. Log titer reduction (LTR) values ranged from 0.3 to 2.0 logs for 20-48 hour challenges conducted in Water for Injection (WFI), and 3.8-7.1 logs for 6-hour challenges conducted in Minimal Media Davis (MMD). For 0.2 micron nylon 6.6 filter discs, penetration by R. pickettii was observed only in WFI challenges and was dependent on the culture and challenge conditions used. Penetration by R. pickettii was also restricted to only those membrane discs that were very close to the filter manufacturer's production integrity test (the Quantitative Bubble Point, QBP, test) limit. Where R. pickettii penetration was observed, LTR values were significantly higher than those observed for H. pseudoflava with the same filter discs. This study: 1) supports the use of H. pseudoflava as a worst-case challenge model for R. pickettii in process- and product-specific bacterial retention testing; 2) provides experimental evidence, for the first time, for the need to include filter membrane lots that have a physical integrity test value at or near the filter manufacturer's production (lower) limit in these tests; and 3) demonstrates how a standardized membrane integrity test (such as the QBP test) can be used select such "worst-case" membranes and to verify the inclusion of such "worst-case" membranes in these tests, thus serving as the link between the membrane disc used in bacterial retention validation testing and the production process filter.

MeSH terms

  • Drug Industry / instrumentation
  • Drug Industry / standards*
  • Proteobacteria / physiology*
  • Proteobacteria / ultrastructure
  • Sterilization / standards*
  • Ultrafiltration / instrumentation*
  • Water Microbiology