This test is specific for sulfate reducing bacteria such as Desulfovibrio, Desulfomonas and Desulfotomaculum. These bacteria require metal ions as a source of energy and produce hydrogen sulfide as an end result. They are probably the most destructive group of bacteria causing microbial influenced corrosion. Detection of these bacteria can be problematic.  They are strict anaerobes and grow deep within biofilms. In fact, sulfate reducing bacteria may not be present in the free-flowing water over the site of the fouling. Their presence relates to corrosion problems, taste and odor problems (“rotten egg” odors), and blackened waters. Slimes rich in sulfate reducing bacteria tend to also be black in color.

Types of water sources that may be tested include: oxygen-deficient environments such as deep wells, plumbing systems, water softeners and water heaters; condensers.

Test Method

SRB-BART™ Biological Activity Reaction Test for Sulfate Reducing 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 hours with 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