ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, is an organic compound found inside and around every living cell. It is produced through the process of cellular respiration. This compound stores high amount of energy in its phosphate bonds. Once the compound is broken down or hydrolyzed into adenosine diphosphate, energy is released. This energy is used by the organism for its metabolic processes and other activities. The presence of ATP, therefore indicates the presence of organism activities, while the absence of ATP means the absence of microorganisms in the sample hence why ATP testing is conducted.
The presence of ATP is usually tested in biological treatment reactors, drinking water, soil activites, product sanitation and the like, to determine the presence of microorganisms in the sample. This test is conducted to determine the amount of ATP present in the solution, which will indicate the number of organisms in the sample. So basically, ATP tests are conducted to identify whether or not the sample is clean from any microorganism, or to determine the organism activities in a controlled environment. There are several ways of testing the presence of ATP and organisms in the given sample, but using luminometer for ATP testing provides a fast a reliable result compared to the other manual testings.
A luminometer is the most common instrument used to determine the presence of ATP in the given sample with the use of the reflected light. It is a device designed to measure the bioluminescent and chemiluminescent in the solution to be tested. The mechanism of the luminometer is that it quantifies the amount of light generated by the reaction of the ATP with the firefly enzyme luciferase. The aggregate light produced is the same as the number of organisms existing in the sample. Other devices may be used together with the luminometer, however, the result of the luminometer test will be sufficient to prove the presence of organisms in the sample.