Sample6 Applications: In Our Hands Before Yours

By: Sample6 on May 19th, 2014

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Sample6 Applications: In Our Hands Before Yours

Food Safety Education  |  Company Features

At Sample6, we are committed to creating an easy to use diagnostic that fits in-plant and in-Julie applicationsshift. The key to developing a test that does not require a lab environment or a microbiologist is to test it under those conditions.  This is the mission of our Applications group.  We serve as the “first customer” for Sample6 DETECT/L. Here’s how we ensure that the product is easy to use before Customer Success brings it to you.

Get Organized

The Application lab is set up to mirror a customer workstation.   The overall footprint for Sample6 DETECT/L fits on a 3 x 5 table.  In our lab, we are able to dedicate the space exclusively for this purpose so we have laid out all the supplies required from initial processing to final read.  Many customers will not be able to dedicate their workspace so they may keep the materials in a drawer nearby and only take them out when needed.  Even under these circumstances,  it is important to set up your materials consistently. This will help you be most efficient.  On our bench, we have taped off and labeled a place for everything so that it is easy for the user to find everything they need.  Here is a picture of our workspace:

Detect L workstation

Follow the Directions

My group uses the same instructions that we provide to our customers.   We keep them at our workstation and regularly reference them.  Also, throughout development, we provide insight to Development and Customer Success on the best workflow to minimize time and confusion.  These changes are incorporated into the final instructions before they are rolled out to customers. 

practice detect l


We have partnered with industry to build a revolutionary diagnostic.  In order to do this, we need real world samples.   My team processes these samples.  This gives us an opportunity to see the variety of samples that our customers may encounter.  We use this opportunity to define steps that will make the product robust across this broad spectrum.  Here are few observations from customer samples:

  • Two sponges, Two Results.  Two samples from the same location taken at the same time do not necessary have the same result, in fact they only correlate about 69% of the time.
  • You can’t judge by smell! Even without enrichment, environmental samples can be quite smelly.  However, in the thousands of samples we have processed, we have seen that this does not correlate to a positive result.
  • Samples come in a spectrum of colors.  Based on the plants in our pilot program, we have seen green, pink, red, yellow, orange, brown, black and even white samples. 
  • Dirty sponge, clean plant.  The most rigorous sampling programs are travelling farther and farther from food contact surfaces in their sampling.  They want to know where the frontier is so that they can manage it.   Their overall program is stronger by hunting down these dirty and occasionally positive samples.


We communicate all of our sample processing findings back into development.  Early in the development of DETECT/L,  we noticed that some samples contained much more liquid than others.  Initially, the sponge contains 10 mls of liquid, some of which will always be retained in the sponge.  After sampling,  we may be able to remove as little as 2 mls of liquid or as much as 10 ml.   We provided this data to the development team and made modifications to our process to ensure that this did not impact performance. 

Always Striving for Improvement

The typical DETECT/L user will process 10-20 samples per day.  The Applications group is able to process more than 120 samples per day.  Based on this volume, we will have the chance to see and try every part of the process and even make mistakes, before the product is rolled out to you.  Our mission is to ensure that Sample6 customers have access to the best performing and easiest to use DETECT assay possible.

Ease of use comes from lots of hard work!