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Hygicult for the USA

Hygicult contact slides are intended for rapid monitoring of microbiological hygiene and/or presumptive identification of microbes (total bacterial count, Enterobacteriaceae, yeasts, moulds and coliforms) on surfaces. The test can be performed on site, or the slides can be used as convenient transport media for samples.


Hygicult tests are reliable, economic and timesaving on-site tests. They are available in four versions. Hygicult TPC is intended for monitoring the general status of hygiene, as it promotes the growth of all types of bacteria as well as yeasts and moulds. Hygicult E and and Hygicult E/ß-GUR are both intended for the detection of Enterobacteriaceae. In addition, Hygicult E/ß-GUR detects the presence of ß-glucuronidase-positive organisms (such as E.coli). Hygicult Y&F is intended for the detection of yeasts and moulds. Hygicult TPC and Hygicult E dipslides were validated in a collaborative study in 12 laboratories. The validation reports have been approved by AOAC and NMKL.

Hygicult tests provide you with

  • Ready-to-use on-site tests
  • Established, reliable, well-documented and proven method
  • No counting of colonies, easy result interpretation with the help of a chart
  • Long shelf-life in comparison with plates
  • Patented hinged slide for convenient surface sampling

Technical data

Products available


Sample type Contact inoculation, dipping or swab sample
Time to result Incubation for 1 to 5 days depending on the product and the temperature
Reading of the result Visual, semiquantitative
Storage 18 - 25 °C (64 - 77 °F)
Additionally needed

An incubator for Hygicult E/ß-GUR and Hygicult E  


Limit values for microbial count in normal drinking water are too low to be detected by Hygicult method

Registered trademark Hygicult is a registered trademark of Orion Diagnostica Oy.

About the tests

The Hygicult TPC slide is covered on both sides with Total Plate Count agar which supports the rapid growth of the most common bacteria and fungi. The test is intended to detect elevated total microbial counds. Therefore, normal levels must first be established.

The Hygicult E/ß-GUR slide is covered on one side with modified Violet Red Bile agar (VRB) agar with added glucose, which allows bacteria belonging to Enterobacteriaceae to grow in the form of red colonies. The glucose also allows some other species to grow in the form of red colonies. The other side of the slide is covered with colourless ß-Gur agar. Species producing ß-glucuronidase (such as E.coli) are able to grow on this side in the form of brown colonies. 

The Hygicult  E slide is covered on both sides with modified VRB agar which allows bacteria belonging to Enterobacteriaceae to grow in the form of red colonies. The glucose also allows some other species to grow in the form of red colonies. 

The Hygicult Y&F slide is covered on both sides with Malt agar which supports the rapid growth of yeasts and moulds. The growth of bacteria is inhibited. The test is intended to detect elevated mould levels. Therefore, normal levels must first be established.

Documents and materials

Frequently asked questions

Can I use Hygicult contact slides for detecting dermatophytes like Trichophyton menatgrophytes or T.rubrum?
Dermatophytes (Trichophyton, Epidermophyton) can infect skin, hair and nails. You may become exposed to dermatophytes at public swimming baths and in other wet areas. However, normal healthy skin does not easily become infected. Dermatophytes grow on Hygicult Y&F but you cannot use Y&F for detecting these species specifically. Y&F is a growth medium for all yeasts and moulds. 

Is Hygicult suitable for detecting bacteria in water?
The quality of drinking water should be tested according to the laws and regulations in your country. Please contact your local food safety authorities or environmental laboratories for further information.
Hygicult can be used for monitoring sewage waters and cooling towers, but it is not sensitive enough for drinking water. The sensitivity limit for Hygicult TPC is 1000 cfu/ml or cfu/cm2, while the limit for drinking water is < 100 cfu/ml. 

Can Hygicult contact slides be used as a transport medium if a sample needs to be taken to a microbiology lab for further cultivation?
Yes. Hygicult contact slides are excellent for this purpose. 

Can Enterobacteria be detected from a sample that has been frozen?
Yes. Enterobacteria can survive when frozen. 

The medium has detached either partially or totally. Why is that? Is the slide still usable?
Do not use the slide. Agar drop-off is most likely due to rough handling during transport. 

Which bacteria strains grow on Hygicult TPC?
TPC is covered with Total Plate Count agar which supports the rapid growth of the most common bacteria and moulds. A comprehensive study on all possible organisms has not been carried out, nor is it necessary to carry out such a study. It is important to understand that TPC is not meant for detecting any microbe specifically; rather, it is intended to be used as an indicator for the level of general microbial contamination. 

What is the volume of the sample Hygicult dipslide picks up when dipped?
The volume is estimated to be 40 - 50 μl per slide. 

In which cases is Hygicult more suitable for environmental hygiene analysis than the ATP (luminescence) method?
Whenever the number of living bacteria is required. The number of living bacteria indicates the hygienic status of a surface and whether it is a potential hazard as items that come into contact with it may become contaminated. 

Do any of  the Hygicult products specifically identify microbes (such as Legionella or other pathogens)?
No, they do not. You need to use pathogen-specific methods. 

What is the surface area of a Hygicult contact slide?
One side of Hygicult contact slide is about 8.5 cm2, and both sides together have a surface area of about 17 cm2

The culture medium has an orange-like appearance. What is wrong? Is the slide still usable?
The slide is unusable. The most probable reason is freezing. When frozen, the tubes most likely contain an excessive amount of water. 

The medium has flattened, although the expiry date has not yet passed. Why is that? Is the slide still usable?
The agar is usable if the medium has shrunk less than 2 mm from the edges of the plastic frame and the meniscus of the agar pad is over the edges.

There is liquid in the tube. Can I use the contact slide in spite of the liquid?
The liquid is water which has condensed from the agar onto the tube walls due to temperature fluctuations. If the volume of water is only droplets and the agar looks normal, you can use the contact slide. You can shake the extra droplets out before closing the tube after sampling. 

What does it mean in practice that Hygicult can be performed “on-site”?
It means that you can do sampling, incubation and interpretation on-site and avoid sending the samples to a lab, thereby also avoiding lab costs. 

The advice is to dispose Hygicult by immersing it in a suitable disinfectant overnight. Is there any disinfectant you can recommend?
Any disinfectant intended for disinfecting surfaces is suitable for this purpose. It is difficult to recommend one because there are a variety of disinfectants available worldwide with different brand names. It is most convenient to use the one which is available in the facility.

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