How to Test Microbial Quality
We know that there are many questions about microbial products to be asked, such as:
1. What's really in the bag?
2. How can I test if my DFMs are still viable?
3. Can I kill DFMs by applying them wrong?
These are excellent questions! Let's dig in.
1. How to tell what's really in a bag of DFMs?
Microorganisms are so tiny that you need to have the right equipment and know-how to identify a microbial product's quality. You will need a microscope with 100x magnification and Gram Stain to see the bacteria.
(Welcome to Microbugz - Gram Stain)
Every bag of SuperDFM® contains a legion of lactic acid bacteria, starting at 1.5 billion CFUs of lactic acid bacteria in every gram. These lactic acid bacteria belong to families Lactobacilliae and Bifidobacterium, to name a few. These are anaerobic and should be cultured on selective substrates in anaerobic conditions (without oxygen) to confirm their presence. Additionally, every bag of SuperDFM® contains a billion CFUs of probiotic Bacillus bacteria and a billion CFUs of baking yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. You can tell that these microorganisms are there using the abovementioned microscopic, culture, and phenotyping methods.
2. Where can I send my DFMs to get tested?
Many labs around the nation will test a sample of DFMs for a small fee and let you know if what's on the label is what's in the bag or if microorganisms have been killed by excessive heat or moisture.
Organisms must be alive and in sufficient numbers to deliver their probiotic effects. Their numbers are measured in colony-forming units (CFUs).
Here are just a few:
Midwest Laboratories has a comprehensive Pet Probiotic package, which includes CFU of aerobic lactic bacteria, anaerobic lactic bacteria, and total bacteria, including probiotic Bacillus.
Contact - Midwest Labs
ConsumerLab.com performs testing of human probiotics; they may test animal probiotics if requested. Please, read ConsumerLab.com's article on ineffective ways of getting DFM tested at home, like the Probiotic "Milk Test" that uses store-bought milk.
Probiotic "Milk Test" - Is it Effective in Testing the Quality of the Bacteria in Probiotics? | ConsumerLab.com
3. Will I kill DFMs if I apply them wrong?
Great question! The quick answer is, yes!
• Do not apply DFMs at the same time as feeding antibiotics or other antimicrobial products as these products are designed to kill microbes.
• Do not Mix DFMs with syrups or liquids. Moisture activates DFMs. Once activated, they require an anaerobic environment (without oxygen) with the proper light, temperature, and food sources to prevent them from perishing.
• Do not expose DFMs to excessive heat. If you happen to leave your bag of DFMs in your vehicle on a hot day, they would likely die in temperatures above 130°F. They will not all die at once. A higher percentage of them will be likely to die as they are exposed longer and at higher temperatures.
If you have more questions about probiotic products' safety and regulation, you may want to read the U.S. National Institutes of Health website about Probiotics.
Probiotics: What You Need To Know | NCCIH (nih.gov)