The Total Aerobic Plate Count (TAPC) is a microbiological testing method used to estimate the total number of viable aerobic microorganisms (bacteria, yeast, and mold) present in a given sample. The TAPC is a measure of the microbial load in a sample and is commonly used to assess the quality and safety of food, water, and other substances.
In the TAPC method, a sample is diluted in a sterile diluent and plated onto a nutrient agar medium that supports the growth of a wide range of aerobic microorganisms. After incubation, the number of colony-forming units (CFUs) on the agar plates is counted, and the results are expressed as the number of CFUs per unit volume or weight of the original sample.
The TAPC is not a specific test for any particular type of microorganism, and it does not distinguish between harmful and harmless microorganisms. Therefore, it is often used as a general indicator of the overall microbial quality of a sample, and further testing may be necessary to identify specific microorganisms of concern.
Common methods used for Total Aerobic Plate Count are USP <61>, USP <2021> and EP (2.6.12).