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HSLU opens microbiology analysis lab in Hergiswil

Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU) has opened a microbiology analysis laboratory in Hergiswil. This will allow interdisciplinary research on germ contamination in air, water and on surfaces to be conducted. The current focus is on air disinfection and combating legionella.

Christina Giger at the opening of the microbiological analysis laboratory at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Image credit: Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts
Christina Giger at the opening of the microbiological analysis laboratory at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Image credit: Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts

Interdisciplinary research on germ contamination can now also be conducted at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU). To this end, a microbiology analysis laboratory has been opened at the HSLU site in Hergiswil in the canton of Nidwalden, as the university writes in a press release. “Expertise in the fields of medical technology, building technology and process engineering is combined at the lab”, explains Benoit Sicre, an expert in air hygiene and indoor air quality at the Institute of Building Technology at HSLU, in the press release. “In this way we can achieve optimal research, development and service quality”, he adds.

In principle, the new lab can perform a wide range of analytical tasks. In this context, the press release cites examples including the reprocessing of disposable medical clothing or the efficacy of a UV LED lamp in disinfecting air flows. The current focus of activities is on interdisciplinary issues linked to air disinfection and combating legionella.

For research activities in the area of pathogens such as legionella, the laboratory was designed to meet the requirements of biological safety level 2. The focus on legionella bacteria has recently been intensified ever since energy saving measures were introduced that mean the temperature of boilers is often set too low to properly kill off the germs. Moreover, according to Christina Giger from the Institute of Medical Technology at HSLU, the pathogen is difficult to identify: “We regularly exchange information with other labs to ensure that our knowledge is up to date”, she adds. HSLU researchers use this knowledge to test strategies for avoiding legionella and to determine the efficacy of disinfectants. 

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