image description


Bacteria are everywhere in our environment. They are abundant in air, water and soil; in and on animals; on plant surfaces; on man-made surfaces and in indoor environments. Most naturally occurring bacteria do not cause illness in humans.

Some types of bacteria, such as Legionella pneumophila, may cause illness. Bacterial infection in humans may occur from contact, inhalation and ingestion. The resulting infection may cause asthma, fever, chills, respiratory infection, pneumonia, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and other diseases. Additionally, bacteria can play an important role in the deterioration of building material, offensive odors, and building-related sicknesses.

SGS Forensic Laboratories offers a wide variety of bacteria laboratory services to those seeking to identify bacterial contamination of air, building materials, and/or water. We also provide specialized media for bacteria sampling.

SGS Forensic Laboratories perform analyses on a variety of matrices including:

  • Air Samples
  • Bulk Samples (carpet, tiles, drywall, insulation, wallpaper, dust, filters, etc.)
  • Water samples (drinking water, sewage leak water, spa or bathing water, etc.)
  • Surface samples: (rodac or other contact plates, dust, swabs, etc.)

Our laboratories can perform a wide variety of bacteriological analyses including:

  • Viable Bacterial Colony Counts
  • Gram Staining
  • Heterotrophic Plate Count
  • Bacterial Identification
  • E. coli Detection and Quantification
  • Fecal Coliform Qualitative Presence/Absence by MUG Technique
  • Fecal Coliform Detection and Quantification by MPN, Membrane Filter
  • Legionella Detection and Identification

In addition to these services, SGS Forensic Laboratories provides analysis of environmental endotoxins associated with Gram-negative bacteria. Endotoxins have been implicated in a number of adverse health effects, both acute and chronic. This includes respiratory problems, fever, and malaise.

As holding times for bacteria samples are extremely short, it is important that samples are submitted to the laboratory within 24 to 48 hours of collection and shipped on ice (with the exception of samples for Legionella analysis, which should be shipped at room temperature). Standard turnaround times for most tests are three to five days. Please call the laboratory if you have any questions about appropriate media, how to sample, or how to ship samples.