Qualification of high-recovery, flocked swabs as compared to traditional rayon swabs for microbiological environmental monitoring of surfaces

PDA J Pharm Sci Technol. 2008 May-Jun;62(3):191-9.


In microbiological environmental monitoring programs, swabs are widely used for hygiene monitoring of surfaces and operators. Traditional rayon swabs are generally used and considered the gold standard in swab collection. Two experimental studies were conducted to validate the performance of a new collection device for environmental monitoring of surfaces, called flocked swabs, manufactured by microRheologics (Brescia, Italy). The first experimental study consisted of comparing flocked swabs' recovery and release capacity to traditional rayon swabs from known microorganism inocula (spiked samples); the second experimental study compared the recovery capacity from samples obtained in routine environmental surfaces sampling of pharmaceutical areas, microRheologics flocked swabs compared to traditional rayon swabs showed an improvement in the percentage of recovery of contamination from surfaces from 20% up to 60%, and the findings were confirmed from a preliminary evaluation of routine environmental surface sampling of pharmaceutical areas. microRheologics flocked swabs also displayed an instant and nearly complete release of absorbed samples of more than 80%.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cellulose*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Environmental Monitoring / instrumentation*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Equipment Contamination / prevention & control*
  • Specimen Handling / instrumentation*
  • Specimen Handling / methods
  • Stainless Steel / analysis


  • Stainless Steel
  • Cellulose
  • rayon, purified