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Cherwell Prepared Media Accessories: Reducing Risk in Environmental Monitoring

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Cherwell Laboratories, specialist suppliers of environmental monitoring and process validation solutions for the pharmaceutical and related industries, has increased the breadth of its range of stainless-steel prepared media accessories for use within cleanroom environmental monitoring (EM) programs, in response to customer demand. This is due to the increasing importance and need for continuous microbial monitoring in line with updated GMP regulations for the manufacture of sterile medicinal products.

The GMP regulatory inspectorate’s focus on the revised EU GMP Annex 1 – continuous viable monitoring and data integrity – has elevated the humble agar settle plate and active air sample plate to delivering very high value data points. The agar plate costs only pence, but as soon as it is allocated a time and location its loss or damage can delay batch release of sterile products and require expensive, time-consuming investigations.

Andrew Barrow, Sales Manager, Cherwell Laboratories, explains, “Due to the recent Annex 1 revisions, we have seen a renewed and growing interest in simple, well designed accessories to reduce the risk of accidents involving agar plates through the whole cycle – from receipt of sterile wrapped agar plates, to the final counting and identification of colonies in the laboratory. So, we have sought to support our customers fully by expanding our prepared media accessories range.”

Cherwell’s growing range of stainless-steel accessories includes Settle Plate stands offering a defined sample point and reducing the risk of a spoilt sample. Holding either one or two plates, the stainless-steel stand’s two-shelf configuration provides a place for both the exposed plate as well as its lid, preventing it from becoming separated or accidentally damaged.  The twin plate stand offers a practical solution where two types of agar (usually TSA and SDA for bacteria and fungi separately) are used.

A tall version, for placement near to critical points, has recently been introduced. This floor standing model of the settle plate stand can be placed in an optimal position for environmental monitoring, whilst being sited in a non-intrusive location so as not to disturb workflow. Based on the existing design, the settle plate stand is mounted on a single rod, with a robust, circular base for stability, all in stainless-steel. Cherwell now offers the stand at 800mm and 1,000mm heights, but is also able to make the stand to a customer specified height, as well as a twin plate version on request.   

Also ensuring crucial agar plate protection and complementing the plate stands, Cherwell manufactures stainless-steel contact plate and petri dish carriers to aid safe handling and transportation and efficient use of incubator space. Holding up to 20 plates, each carrier is 100% stainless-steel with no fixings or difficult corners to clean, providing a cleanroom compatible finish that is easily cleaned and/or autoclaved. For additional practicality, the units feature a handle for transportation, which moves to enable unobstructed loading of the carrier.