qPCR Services

At NCIMB we can detect, quantify and monitor microorganisms for our customers using qPCR. Our well-equipped laboratories are located in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Our experienced scientists can:

  • provide information and advice about the options available
  • use qPCR to confirm the presence or absence of organisms in samples
  • use qPCR to provide quantitative information that allows customers to monitor change in samples over time.
qPCR testing services

Why use NCIMB for qPCR services?

Customised assays

We have experience of undertaking customer projects to develop customised assays for organisms or functional genes of interest.

Commonly requested tests

Our qPCR testing service includes a range of commonly requested tests, including sulphate reducing prokaryotes.

Good communication

We'll keep you informed about the progress of your samples throughout the process, from sample receipt to final report.

Friendly, expert advice available

Not sure of the best approach for your samples? One of the things our customers often tell us they value about our service is the help and advice that they get from our laboratory staff. We are always happy to help you choose the right service to meet your needs.

Our facilities

Our purpose-built laboratories include a molecular suite equipped with automated extraction capabilities, including Qiagen QIAcubes to produce high quality DNA and RNA for downstream PCR and qPCR.

Applications of qPCR

qPCR  is a method that can rapidly detect and quantify groups of microorganisms in many different types of samples. It is a well-known test for diagnosing infectious diseases, but it also has a range of industrial applications. For example:
  • It can be used to test for and monitor particular groups of organisms that are known to cause problems in particular environments. At NCIMB we are regularly asked to used qPCR to monitor groups of microbes known to influence corrosion in marine or oilfield environments.
  • qPCR can also be a useful tool for confirming the presence or absence of microbes that are used in microbial products and manufacturing processes.

Viability PCR: PMA-qPCR

While qPCR is an extremely useful technique for many applications, it does not differentiate between living and dead cells. There has therefore been growing interest in viability-qPCR – i.e. a qPCR method that can distinguish between living and dead cells.

qPCR quantifies groups of microorganisms in samples by amplifying target DNA to levels at which a detectable fluorescence signal can be observed. The number of amplification cycles and the level of fluorescence are then used to calculate the number of organisms in the original sample. PMA-qPCR is a viability-qPCR method that uses propidium monaozide (PMA) dye, which selectively binds to DNA within dead cells, preventing subsequent PCR amplification of the DNA within those cells.

Viability PCR could be particularly useful in applications such as microbiome studies, environmental testing, probiotic research and biocide efficacy testing.

At NCIMB we carry out projects to support our customers’ process and product development and have experience of undertaking PMA-qPCR as part of customer projects. If you are interested in exploring the use of viability qPCR within a research project, get in touch to find out more.

Our customers

Our experienced scientists have experience of working with a range of sample types from customers working in a broad range of industry sectors including pharmaceutical, food, drink, and the energy sector.

What you can send

  • We accept a range of sample types, such as samples of water, swabs, slimes or contaminated products, but please contact us to discuss the options available prior to sending them.
  • NCIMB does not accept active cultures of dangerous human pathogens or organisms isolated from clinical or diseased plant materials for identification. We cannot accept isolates known to be above ACDP category 2 and ACGM class 1.

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