Recently approved ASTM D 7463 (ATP in Fuel) works great for rapidly determining biomass in conventional fuels. However, D7463 depends on an aqueous extraction step in which the extraction reagent pulls microbes out of the fuel sample. This step makes it impossible to use the method for determining ATP in fuels that retain water (for example ethanol-blended gasolines and some biodiesel fuels), or from high water-content fluids like metalworking fluids. Recently, working in collaboration with LuminUltra Technologies, LTD, BCA has developed a method that overcomes these problems. Biomass in fluid samples is first concentrated by filtration. Non-biomass contaminants retained on the filter are rinsed off using a proprietary rinsing agent (U.S. patents 7,556,933 and 7.829,280). This step removes chemicals that typically interfere with the ATP test. The contaminant-free cells retained by the filter are then treated to release their ATP. The evaluation of this new method for use in biodiesel and ethanol-blended fuels was presented at a conference in January (see Using ATP to Quantify Biomass in Fuel Systems). The results of a three-month, 12-system field evaluation of ATP testing in metalworking fluids will be presented in May at this year’s STLE Annual Meeting. Proposed new Standard Test Methods for ATP in fuels and metalworking fluids, respectively, are currently being balloted within ASTM.

Watch this page for further developments!