Bottled Water Quality Monitoring
ColiMinder™ is an instrument for online control of microbiological quality of bottled water, spring water, mineral water and other beverages
Providing continuous monitoring of microbiological quality throughout the production process.
Bottled Water – Product Quality Control
A microbiological contamination of products is the worst-case scenario for each bottling company. It causes enormous subsequent costs, considerable damage to the manufacturer’s reputation and in the worst case customers can be harmed.
The ColiMinder provides the important parameter of microbiological quality fully automatic and in almost real time for continuous monitoring throughout the bottling process.
The ColiMinder can be deployed at-line in the process to monitor raw water, water treatment as well as critical control points throughout the bottling process. Once microbiological activity exceeds a determined limit the ColiMinder automatically notifies responsible parties.
Microbiological contamination can originate from raw water or can occur in the process itself, especially any kind of filters represent a potential source of risk.
A timely performed CIP process minimizes this risk. Due to a long incubation period, microbiological laboratory tests cannot be used to determine the right time to perform a CIP. With the ColiMinder installed, the decision to stop production and schedule a CIP can be taken based on actual measurement results.
This applies to all production and bottling processes for mineral water, spring water, bottled water, soft drinks, breweries, dairy production, including sterile and injection water production.
Application Example (Picture on the left):
The ColiMinder monitoring bottling process at Romaqua Group’s mineral water plant in Bușteni, Romania.
How does it work?
The ColiMinder measures the specific metabolic (enzymatic) activity of the target organisms present in the sample. The measured value provides information about the energy turnover of living organisms in the sample.
Living organisms need energy, which they gain through their metabolism, so the metabolic activity reflects the energetic turnover of the existing microorganisms. The measured activity directly indicates the microbiological quality of the water.
How Do I Use the ColiMinder?
ColiMinder can automatically monitor various process steps – critical control points – in bottled water production, providing a direct visualization of microbial dynamics of the processes.
The timeline displays any change in microbial contamination, providing precise and valuable information that was previously unavailable.
Since the results of the ColiMinder are available in near real time, microbiological water quality is now available as a parameter for process control. In addition, real-time alerts can be sent when defined microbiological contamination limits are exceeded.
The ColiMinder has proven its ability to measure the microbial quality in your water bottling process regardless of the type of microbes present. It reliably detects any type of contamination whether it is bacteria such as E. coli, coliforms, Pseudomonas, etc. or algae, mold, yeast or biofilm.
Different add-on modules are available to ensure stable and reliable sampling and results, and besides automatic monitoring, introducing grab samples is possible.
How do I use the results?
The measured enzymatic activity of the sample provides a direct answer to the question: “how high is the microbiological contamination of the sample?”.
Depending on the reagent used, the measurement results are specific for the corresponding target organism.
The results not only provide direct quantitative information about the microbial contamination of the sample, but shape and course of the measurement timeline also contain valuable information about the dynamics of the microbiological load and thus allow conclusions to be drawn about the causes of changes.
A recent scientific study published in Water Research shows that the ColiMinder is the most sensitive instrument available on the market for monitoring microbial quality of water. Please see: Favere, J., Waegenaar, F., Boon, N., & De Gusseme, B. (2021). Online microbial monitoring of drinking water: How do different techniques respond to contaminations in practice?, published in Water Research Journal .
The reliability of the ColiMinder has been demonstrated in several installations where the devices have been providing reliable measurement results in continuous operation since 2015.
Thanks to the sophisticated system for fully automatic cleaning and calibration, the maintenance effort is limited to refilling the consumables. Replacement of the silicone hoses is recommended every other year, no further maintenance is required.
The ColiMinder can measure any type of sample without pre-treatment.
It has no problem with suspended solids or turbid samples. Even fluctuating background fluorescence has no effect on the measurement result.
Its robustness towards environmental influences, like temperature or humidity is evident in installations like Stonecutter Island Sewage Treatment Plant in Hong Kong, where it has been monitoring effluent 24/7 since 2017 without any issues.
It has got an IP65 protected housing, and it can measure in the temperature range from 0°C to 40°C.
Can I do compliance testing with the ColiMinder?
The ColiMinder provides operational monitoring as recommended by the WHO, the EU Drinking Water Directive and others.
Real-time measurement of actual microbiological quality enables rapid response and correction, so the ColiMinder helps you to meet specified limits at the lowest cost and with the highest level of safety.
A correlation between standard lab results and ColiMinder results can be established and used internally but the system is not intended to replace compliance testing.
Can ColiMinder results be expressed in CFU ?
In contrast to classical culture-based laboratory methods, which are based on the cultivation of bacteria, the enzymatic measurement method of the ColiMinder is based on the direct measurement of the metabolic activity of the target organisms. There is therefore no direct and generally valid conversion between the two methods.
In general, however, a correlation table can be created through comparative measurements, which can then be used for conversion.
In case of contamination events in the production line
Safeguard your product quality
during entire production process
Evidence-based decision-making to CIP
based on real-time knowledge about microbial quality in your system
Check your final product
prior to dispatch – in only 15 minutes instead of days
Identify contamination sources
easy and fast
Increase efficiency and safety in injection water treatment
Adjust treatment intensity to actual contamination
ColiMinder “Timo” installed at Romaqua’s mineral water bottling plant in Borsec (Romania), monitoring microbial quality of two mineral water wells: one for still water and one for naturally carbonated water.
ColiMinder “Yoko” at Romaqua’s bottling plant in Busteni (Romania), monitoring bottling process of mineral and spring water.
ColiMinder “Yoko” at Romaqua, helping to safeguard microbial quality throughout the mineral water bottling process, also used for grab samplesfor testing final product.
The ColiMinder “Ida” in South Africa, installed in a soft drink bottling plant, helping to detect sources of recurring microbiological contaminations in the bottling process.
Example: Measurement Results of water production for soft drink bottling
Project: The ColiMinder is used to measure microbiological activity at different points of a soft drink producers bottling plant, as the plant had recurring contamination problems.
With 15 minutes time to result it only took one day to locate the contamination hotspots within the process.
The ColiMinder Total Activity measurements have shown to be much more sensitive than the HPC tests used by the quality lab to determine CFU/ml. All HPC tests of measurements on the right side showed 0 CFU/ml.
ColiMinder use cases
proven by customers!
The ColiMinder microbiological analyzer can be installed at any stage of the water bottling process for real-time monitoring of microbiological contamination.
Raw water intake (municipal, groundwater, wells)
Critical Control Points
Filtration (Sand, AC, UF, NF, RO)
For more information:
Several White Papers can be found here in the download area to provide further information about bottled water measurements with the ColiMinder.
The ColiMinder™ has proven its reliability, stability and robustness in various applications world-wide
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