ASTM-D5588 Historical Revision Information
Standard Test Method for Determination of the Microbial Condition of Paint, Paint Raw Materials, and Plant Areas

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Standard Test Method for Determination of the Microbial Condition of Paint, Paint Raw Materials, and Plant Areas


1.1 This test method covers a procedure for the determination of the microbial condition (contamination or sterility) of raw materials used in the manufacture of paint, and the microbial condition of paint and paint manufacturing areas.

1.2 The values in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. The values given in parentheses are for information only.

1.3 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

Significance and Use

Spoilage of paint in the container is often related to the use of contaminated raw materials, water (particularly recycled washwater), vessels, piping, and equipment in the manufacturing plant. There is a need for a simple method to determine the presence or absence of microorganisms in plants that manufacture paints and coatings. Such a determination enables the manufacturer to establish the point of contamination (that is, raw materials or problem housekeeping areas in the plant) to help in solving the spoilage problem.

Note 1—Some contamination in plant areas is to be expected, since microorganisms are ubiquitous and cannot generally be eliminated practically (it is what an in-can preservative is supposed to control). Excessive levels of contamination or contaminated raw materials can exceed the capability of the preservative. If you have excessive contamination in the plant, there are methods for decontamination including steam, preservatives, bleach, etc. These should be discussed with your biocide supplier and used with care. Recovery of spoiled or contaminated products is often not feasible, so an adequate level of the appropriate biocide in conjunction with good plant housekeeping practices are essential. Your biocide supplier can also help here.

This test method may be used by persons without basic microbiological training, but some training on aseptic techniques would be recommended.

Note 2—The reliability of the results obtained from this test method is extremely dependent on the techniques employed. Improper techniques can result in a sterile sample appearing to be contaminated, and even worse, a contaminated sample appearing to be sterile (see also 5.1). It is recommended that you consult with your biocide supplier, raw material supplier, or an independent testing laboratory to confirm questionable results.


bacteria; contamination; fungi; microorganism; plant housekeeping; sterility; yeast; ICS Number Code 87.040 (Paints and varnishes)

To find similar documents by ASTM Volume:

06.01 (Paint -- Tests for Chemical, Physical, and Optical Properties; Appearance)

To find similar documents by classification:

87.040 (Paints and varnishes Including coating powders, paint coatings and protective paint systems)

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Document Number


Revision Level

1997 R02 EDITION



Modification Type


Publication Date

Dec. 1, 2002

Document Type

Test Method

Page Count

4 pages

Committee Number