The slime forming bacteria is the name given to a group of bacteria that are capable of producing a variety of extracellular polysaccharide polymers.  It is these long chain molecules which act as the foundation and cement for the formation of biofilm.  The slime-like growth coating the inside of pipes and fixtures is called the biofilm.  The purpose of this slime layer appears to be protective.  Under harsh environments (e.g., temperature changes, chemicals, shortage of nutrients) slime layers can get thicker.  As the biofilm matures, aerobic bacteria creating the biomass produce metabolic by-products all the while consuming oxygen.  This facilitates micro-environments underneath the biofilm which can then support the growth of anaerobic bacteria.  The slime forming bacteria are an important part of the microbial influenced corrosion process in that they can function under different reduction-oxidation conditions.  This transition of aerobic to anaerobic environments within the biofilm supports the growth of iron related, sulfate reducing and acid producing bacteria.

The slime producing bacteria can cause engineering problems related to the reduction of hydraulic or thermal conductivity as well as clogging, taste, odor and color changes.

Types of water sources that may be tested include open-evaporative cooling systems, water-based fire protection sprinkler systems, condensers, and well water.

Test Method

SLYM-BART™ Biological Activity Reaction Test for Slime Producing Bacteria. Manufacturer: Droycon Bioconcepts Inc. Saskatchewan, Canada

Turn Around Time

10–12 days

Test Code 


Sampling Instructions

Note: These bacteria and their affects are often associated with water in low flow areas. Sample collection will vary by source.  The test is semi-quantitative; therefore, once collected, the sample should be shipped to lab within 24 hour with a cold pack. Generally, collect samples as follows:

  1. Complete SPL Chain of Custody form provided. 
  2. Use waterproof pen to label bottle with sample location, description, and date. 
  3. Samples for more than one MIC test maybe collected in single 250 ml collection bottle as long as there is  ≥30 ml for each type of test requested.
  • Cooling Tower and Non-potable Water
    1. Submerge open bottle just under the surface of water to obtain ≥30 ml of sample. Avoid sediment. 
    2. Close bottle and invert to mix the sodium thiosulfate neutralizer.
  • Potable Water
    1. Turn on water (hot or cold) and immediately fill bottle to ≥30ml.
    2. Close bottle and then invert to mix the sodium thiosulfate neutralizer.

Sample Transport 

  1. Deliver or ship samples the same day they are collected. The time from sample collection to analysis should not exceed 24 hours.
  2. Place bottles in box with insulated liner.
  3. Place completed Chain of Custody in plastic document holder and pack in box.
  4. Ship overnight Monday–Thursday only to: Special Pathogens Laboratory, 1401 Forbes Avenue, Suite 401, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Questions? Call SPL at 412-281-5335