This invention relates to a process for detecting the presence of viable bacterial spores in a sample and to a spore detection system, the process including placing a sample in a germination medium for a period of time sufficient for commitment of any present viable bacterial spores to occur, mixing the sample with a solution of a lanthanide capable of forming a fluorescent complex with dipicolinic acid, and, measuring the sample for the presence of dipicolinic acid, and the system including a germination chamber having inlets from a sample chamber, a germinant chamber and a bleach chamber, the germination chamber further including an outlet through a filtering means, the outlet connected to a detection chamber, the detection chamber having an inlet from a fluorescence promoting metal chamber and the detection chamber including a spectral excitation source and a means of measuring emission spectra from a sample, the detection chamber further connected to a waste chamber. A germination reaction mixture useful for promoting commitment of any viable bacterial spores in a sample including a combination of L-alanine, L-asparagine and D-glucose is also described.
The present invention relates to viability detection of bacterial spores and more particularly to real time detection of viable bacterial spores. This invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.