Environmental monitoring can be viewed in two ways. It involves fieldwork in environmental science: sampling of wastewater, soil, or outdoor air quality testing. After the samples are processed in a laboratory, the submitter is informed of the outcomes.
The other way to think about environmental monitoring is in a clean room or laboratory, where temperature and humidity can affect results and where lab workers work with nuclear, biological, or chemical substances that could hurt someone. In these settings, air samples are taken from people and equipment or from the rooms themselves at predetermined intervals by an air sampler so that any problems can be easily fixed.
A microbiology group in a Quality Control department typically receives these samples. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of infectious disease laboratories and made many businesses more aware of the need to monitor air quality. The requirement for an environmental monitoring-capable laboratory information management system LIMS system software grows as a result of these factors.
A typical LIMS is made so that production samples can be brought to fixed lab instruments. A LIMS provides the same kind of support for environmental science fieldwork as any other sampling-based method.
Due to the coronavirus, which is raising concerns about lab safety and testing accuracy, this blog will focus on clean rooms and sensitive lab settings that necessitate slightly more work from the LIMS and sample collector than is typical for sample-based workflows. In order to use a LIMS for environmental monitoring, these workflows must be configured separately because they are not a standard feature. However, there are numerous advantages to using a LIMS for environmental monitoring.
Obstacles to Using a LIMS to Support Environmental Monitoring
A LIMS is not made to specifically support environmental monitoring in a clean room or any other remote sampling protocols. Therefore, the majority of top-tier LIMS vendors offer a Scheduling module and a Storage Location Management module that can be used together to support environmental monitoring to accommodate various sampling environments. Even though this is good for the labs, the LIMS will need a lot of configuration.
The restricted nature of sampling locations and the general limitation of sample scheduling in a LIMS are yet another obstacle to the utilization of a LIMS for environmental monitoring in clean rooms. It can be challenging to accommodate irregular samples and process errors. Additionally, a mobile-friendly version of the LIMS that is installed on a sterile tablet and accompanied by a sterile label printer may be required for sample logging in a clean room.
Due to the necessity of specialized PPE and the prevalence of labs with limited access, clean room sampling often needs to be divided up among multiple microbiologists or technicians. A standard LIMS typically does not typically provide support for this either.
Last but not least, a typical LIMS workflow does not include the sample’s actual location, which is an essential piece of information for environmental monitoring. Associating a location with the sample becomes possible when the Storage Location Management module is integrated into the LIMS saas and properly configured.