With over ten years’ experience in bespoke commercial scientific testing, we can provide you with the service that your business needs. We can offer expert advice and information to clients across a range of areas.
The commercial scientific services team comprises of an integrated group of scientific experts within the academic research team at the University of Worcester.
Our work includes a range of commercial testing and research either offered as standardised procedures or as a research platform working with the client to develop bespoke projects.
Our commercial demographic covers local, national and sometimes international businesses and manufacturers that require independent evaluation. The work principally focuses on aspects of indoor air quality, such as allergen concentration, particulate matter, VOC levels or bacterial and fungal contaminates; using mechanisms such as products or systems devised for the commercial market.
- Test Chamber
Environmental Test Chamber
The Institute of Science and the Environment’s test chamber is used for both commercial and research work. As well as allowing research and development testing and evaluation to be carried out at strict temperature and humidity settings, it is also available for use for product evaluation.
- The key feature of the facility is its size. The chamber has a floor size of approximately 4.8 x 4.8m and a height of 4m
- Controlled temperature environment from -20°C to +50°C Relative humidity control from approximately 15% to 95%
- Fully Calibrated
- Computer control allowing multiple programed set point changes and delayed start/finish
- Internal, removable enclosures allowing processes and equipment to be separated from the main chamber. Can be used for containing dirty or dusty procedures or aerobiology applications such as pollen testing
- Large double door access to the rear which leads out to the exterior of the building. Personnel access via an ‘airlock’ from the lab
- Multiple 240v plug sockets. Access ports into the adjoining labs for running power/data cables etc
- Compressed air supply
Additionally there is a 1m3 environmental cabinet available for smaller equipment/projects. This has similar temperature and humidity specifications as the main chamber.
Both chambers are available for internal and external use. Clients products can be tested and evaluated by the Commercial Scientific Services Group or the chamber can be hired by clients for their own R&D and testing use when available.
Chamber availability and use can be arranged by contacting the Commercial Scientific Services group and is dependent on current usage and bookings.
- Product Testing
The group has over ten years’ experience carrying out product testing procedures, designing protocols and analysing performance. We can assess a range of products in a number of different areas.
Testing of Commercial Products for Allergen Reduction
- Washing additives
- Vacuum cleaners
- Washing machines and tumble driers
- Pollen allergen reducing products
- Bed vacuum cleaners
- Anti-allergen bedding
- Particulate monitoring
- Air quality products
House Dust Mite
- Anti-dust mite formulations
- Dust mite reduction strategies
- Steam, UV, Heat devices
- Dust mite resistant fabrics
- Detergents and anti-microbial solutions
- Steam cleaners
- Carpet washers
- Surface cleaning
- Biological control agents
Research and Development Services
We offer a research and development service.
Development of bespoke research and development projects. These projects can incorporate routine work, as outlined above. Additionally we offer our time as a collaborative working partnership; either assisting the external client and/or incorporating in-house expertise to develop techniques to the clients request.
In-house expertise that we can resource:
- Pollen monitoring: morphological ID and ELISA assay
- Antibody production: Monoclonal and polyclonal for downstream diagnostic systems
- Developments of multiplex assay for species ID using antibody or oligonucleotide probes
- DNA analysis using qPCR
- Allergen research
Outline of past research and development work:
- Air purifier assessment
- Anti-allergen bedding trials
- Household devices and efficacy in allergen reduction
- Anti-allergen surface coatings and cleaning agents
- Pollen trapping and assessment qualitative and quantitative
- Microbial surfaces and air assessment (indoor environments predominantly)
- UV effects on biological organisms
NB. Full details of commercial tests and R&D cannot be disclosed and remain the intellectual property of the client and/or the University of Worcester.
Full customer consultation prior to commencement of work.
Time line guide:
Non-standard/Bespoke project work.
Timeline to be agreed at point of work agreement.
- Routine Tests
Routine Test Work
- Aerosol spectrometer (GRIMM) used to measure airborne particles over a range of sizes 0.25 µm to 32 µm commonly used for assessing indoor air quality
- Nano-check adaptation that can monitor particulates that are <0.25 µm
Allergen level testing using ELISA system:
(wet lab analytical biochemistry assay that can be quantitatively measured) routinely used to assess allergen levels reduced by products within the indoor environment. E.g. vacuums, cleaning solutions and equipment, other anti-allergen materials incorporated into household products:
- House dust mite
- Fungal spore- Aspergillus
- Pollen - Birch - Grass - Ragweed
Other assays that can be adopted
- Other allergenic fungal spore types e.g. Alternaria, Stachybotrys chartarum
- Simple biomed assays e.g Tryptase
Microbiological monitoring e.g. surfaces, water, air, soils etc. Using qualitative assessment with identification of morphology to genus level and chemical analyses to species level. Quantitative calculated measurement by colony counts.
GCMS assessment on extracted air samples either actively or passively on to Tenax tubes that are then thermally desorbed and give a qualitative measurement of volatiles that may be present. Certain volatiles can be quantified using the standards we have:
We can accommodate small batches (approx. 6-8/ day).
Full details of commercial tests and R&D cannot be disclosed and remain the intellectual property of the client and/or the University of Worcester.
Full customer consultation prior to commencement of work
Time line guide:
GCMS testing: 1-2 weeks (depending on sample numbers)
All other standard testing: 6-8 weeks (negotiations can be made to fast track if work load is favourable)
Staff and Expertise
The Commercial Scientific Services Group is a part of the University of Worcester’s Institute of Science and the Environment. This allows us to draw on the wide range of expertise within the Institute and wider University.
The Commercial Scientific Services group utilises and consults with members of the institute for their expertise in specific areas when required. These can range from laboratory work through to analysis, experiment design, analysis and review.
Simon John – Microbiology, ELISA analysis, monoclonal antibody production.
Dr Mary Hanson – DNA analysis, molecular and immunological techniques, health services.
Dr Emma Edwards – Immunology, molecular biology, DNA analysis, report review.
Dr Geoff Petch – Aerobiology, air sampling, experimental design, report review.
Gary Keane – ELISA monoclonal antibody production.
Beverley Adams Groom – Pollen analysis and identification, pollen forecasting.
Dr Mike Wheeler – Biochemistry, bioinformatics and genetics.
Dr Steve Coles – Biochemistry, Biomedical science.
Professor Carsten Ambelas Skjøth – Aerobiology, atmospheric modelling, air quality.
Liz Davies-Ward - Acting Head of the Institute of Science and the Environment