A dipslide or dip slide is a test designed to determine the presence of bacteria and fungi in liquid samples. Dipslides are very well used in many fields and industries that go from hospitals to water treatment and cooling systems. Most dipslides consist of two layers of agar attached to each side of a plastic paddle that is submerged inside a clear tube that holds the water sample. The agar media can be customized to target different microorganisms. Most dipslides will have media for common fungi contaminants on one side and slime forming bacteria or general heterotrophic bacteria on the other side.
Pros and cons of Dipslides
Dipslides are very easy to use and easy to read. Most dipslides will have instructions on how to approximate the concentration of microorganisms based on the number colonies grown after a determined period of time. The simplicity of dipslides have made them very popular in many industries, including the oil and gas industry. Having the possibility of testing for two different kinds of microorganism at the same time is a huge advantage, letting costumers save money and time.
On the other hand, dipslides can be limited by physical factors. Agar media can be very sensitive to temperature changes. Being kept at hot temperatures or hot places for a prolonged period of time can affect the consistency of the media, making it less effective and more susceptible to common contaminants. Also, if two different kinds of microorganism are tested at the same time (same dipslide), it is very important to consider the incubation time and temperature in order to quantify each one separately to prevent inconsistent results. Dipslides must be kept refrigerated and checked constantly to determine whether or not they were exposed unintentionally to contaminants.