Effect of chemical cleaning agents and commercial sanitizers on ATP bioluminescence measurements

J Food Prot. 1999 Jan;62(1):86-90. doi: 10.4315/0362-028x-62.1.86.


Nine chemical cleaning agents at three concentrations were studied to determine the effect on ATP bioluminescence measurements from pure ATP (PATP) and ATP from chicken exudate (CJATP). The nine commercial cleaning and sanitizing chemicals were concentrated foaming acid (FA), acid sanitizer (AS), iodine cleaner-disinfectant (ZI), alkaline cleaner-degreaser (PC), chlorinated alkaline cleaner (CA), chlorinated sanitizer (CS), quaternary ammonium (QA), antibiofilm agent (AB), and acidic peroxygen sanitizer (HP). Effect was reported as a percent change from the log10 relative light unit (LRLU) measurements of the control groups. All cleaners and sanitizers were tested at one-tenth of the manufacturer's recommended level (MRL), MRL, and two times MRL. FA, PC, and CA at all three concentrations significantly decreased PATP and CJATP LRLU. AS decreased PATP and CJATP LRLU at 200 and 400 ppm quaternary ammonium. ZI decreased PATP LRLU at MRL or greater, while CJATP LRLU were decreased by all concentrations of ZI tested. CS decreased PATP LRLU in a dose-dependent manner; however, for CJATP, LRLU decreased slightly at the two lower concentrations but were not affected by 1,200 ppm CS. QA at MRL or above for PATP or at all concentrations for CJATP significantly increased LRLU. AB decreased LRLU at all concentrations tested for PATP or at MRL or greater for CJATP. HPA at MRL or greater for PATP or at all concentrations for CJATP significantly reduced LRLU. These results demonstrate that commercial sanitizers and cleansers may squelch or increase LRLU measurements when the chemical comes into direct contact with the ATP bioluminescence reagents. Hence, when using ATP bioluminescence as a means of determining sanitary quality of food-processing equipment, it is essential to consider the type and concentration of chemical cleaner or sanitizer being used on the equipment prior to testing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Bacteria*
  • Chickens / microbiology
  • Detergents / pharmacology*
  • Disinfectants / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Food Handling*
  • Luminescent Measurements*
  • Sodium Hypochlorite / pharmacology


  • Detergents
  • Disinfectants
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Sodium Hypochlorite