Testing for fungi and other microorganisms on plastics, using ISO-846 in order to prevent quality loss and possible damage

Intertek provides a range of microbial tests to measure the changes caused to plastic and polymeric materials from bacteria and fungi microbes, using ISO-846. The resistance of a plastic product to bacteria and fungi microbes can be determined using these tests, which support food packaging, cosmetics packaging and many other industries and products. These tests are applicable to all articles made of plastic that have an even surface and that can thus be easily cleaned, for example polyurethane. The exceptions are porous materials, such as plastic foams.

Under certain climatic and environmental conditions, microorganisms can attach and colonize the surface of the plastic product or plastic material. Their presence and/or the products of their metabolism may damage the plastic and also affect the use of building materials and systems that include parts in plastic materials.

The action of microorganisms on plastic is influenced by two types of processes:

- Direct action: deterioration of the plastic that serves as a nutrient for the growth of microorganisms.
- Indirect action: influence of metabolic products of microorganisms.

Intertek provides ISO 846 testing of plastic materials, to determine and evaluate the effect of fungi and bacteria on polymeric materials. The ISO 846 test uses visual examination along with the measurement of mass and physical properties changes. 

This procedure is a 21 day test to approach the real conditions of temperature and humidity for plastics products use. Three different methods exist in the ISO 846 procedure for fungi testing.

Microbe tests conducted on plastic and polymer materials include:

  • ISO 846 Testing for Plastics
  • ASTM G-21 Testing
  • ASTM G-22 Testing
  • Additional tests are available, depending upon the product and industry test required

Intertek’s microbiology laboratory in France provides microbial evaluation of plastics testing, and client samples are easily transported to the lab from across the world. Contact us to discuss your specific requirements.

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