The FUELSTAT® Test Kit:
FUELSTAT® is an immunoassay antibody test rather like pregnancy tests that we are all familiar with. But instead of searching for the markers of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) FUELSTAT® searches for the markers of the microorganisms that thrive and do damage to fuel systems.
FUELSTAT® is designed to detect living, growing microorganisms that can cause damage to fuel systems such as, interfering with FQIS probes in fuel tanks, blocking filters and microbially influenced corrosion amongst other consequences.
There are some major benefits of antibody tests. The test method is called immunoassay using a lateral flow device (LFD) and this delivers results in less than 15 minutes from start to finish. Fuel being tested at the tank almost immediately helps fuel users comply with ASTM D6469 Section 8.5 on handling, transport and timeliness of fuel sampling to detect microbial contamination. It is very simple to use requiring only 4 drops of sample fluid to be put into test and very easy to learn by online training methods. Used in conjunction with the free app FUELSTAT® Result it’s a totally paperless way to interpret the test, reducing risk of misinterpretation, and save the data.
The unique immunoassay antibody technology used by FUELSTAT® uses antigens developed as markers for key (lead) microorganisms, and microbes that are almost identical in nature and have near identical metabolisms, known to contaminate fuel, degrade it and cause issues to fuel systems. These are grouped into three categories for detection by the test kit:
- Fungi – yeasts and moulds
- H.res (Hormoconis resinae) – a filamentous fungi that can be particularly prevalent and problematic in fuel and fuel systems
FUELSTAT® test paddles contain 6 tests, testing for each separate group in a semi-quantitative manner in either the heavy contamination range, the moderate contamination range, or the negligible contamination range as per industry guidance material, such as the IATA guidance material on microbial contamination.
FUELSTAT® does not detect dormant spores. FUELSTAT® will however detect spores that are activated and start germinating.
If a spore is dormant, it does not present a direct risk to fuel. Spores can remain dormant for a long time and they may never “wake up”, if the conditions are not favourable, such as there is not enough nutrients (that would typically be coming from water) in the system for their growth. FUELSTAT® focuses on detection of microbiological contamination that represents an imminent risk to the fuel system and thus it has not been designed to detect dormant forms of microorganisms such as spores.
It is important to take care when sampling so that any contamination from another tank is not transferred into the sample that you are testing, so clean sampling containers (fresh disposable containers are ideal) are essential. However, being an antibody test, there is no need to be concerned with FUELSTAT® about common surface or airbourne microorganisms entering the sample. They may be present but as they are not being searched for, will be ignored. This makes testing in less than perfect conditions much easier.
Middle distillate fuels most commonly known as jet fuel and diesels.
FUELSTAT® works by testing any water that is evident at the bottom of the sample. A pipette is supplied for extracting the water below the fuel. If there is only a small amount of water then this should be extracted with the pipette and topped up with fuel. Fuel only with no water bottom is poured directly into sampling bottle. This is covered in training video in ‘How to Use FUELSTAT®’ section of website.
It is recommended that water is tested if possible as this is where the concentration of microorganisms and gives the best opportunity to detect growing microbial contamination at the earliest and easiest to remedy stage.
In most situations it is advisable to test every 12 months. However, testing for microbial contamination should be based on the risk. Generally, the earliest detection is the cheapest and easiest to deal with. If you operate in hot and humid conditions, it may be more suitable to test every 3 months or more frequently to catch infections before serious operational consequences occur.
It has 30 months from day of manufacture prior to be shipped globally to our distributors. Usual remaining shelf life from distribution is targeted at 18 months but this may vary. Users are encouraged to stock in 3 to 6 monthly orders so aging stock is not an issue.
FUELSTAT® is a relatively simple product to use and has been designed to be used in the field by a variety or operators with little or no previous training. Full instructions are supplied with each FUELSTAT® test kit. For further information please see our “How to Use FUELSTAT” page which includes a user focused step by step instructional video.
Generally, this is because the fuel itself has been tested not the blue fluid. This can happen when you first turn over the bottle a little fuel can be left in nozzle or when you turn bottle up during the test and some raw fuel gets trapped in nozzle. Always drop the first 4 drops onto a paper towel and check that the fluid in nozzle is blue. The instruction video explains this clearly.
FUELSTAT® is designed to be simple to use and has detailed training videos to show the do’s and the don’ts of the product and the app associated with it. FUELSTAT® provides on-line training if required and has a Train to Train program for large users to add FUELSTAT® training to their regular programs.
No, unlike other traditional growth methods used by our competitors, no incubation is needed for FUELSTAT®.
The only other items of equipment needed are the normal safety equipment (gloves etc) and the sample bottles necessary to hold the fluid. Other than that, the test is “stand-alone”.
This usually means that the blue liquid has not been allowed to settle fully in the Sample Extraction Buffer bottle so that neat fuel has been added to the test well. As the test fails-safe, no lines will be seen. However, the test cannot be re-used, and a new foil pack must be opened.
Yes, the control line shows that the kit has operated properly and should be very distinct. The test line is a response to the level of contamination in the fuel and is usually less bright.
No, if you can see a test line, even a faint one, that has a definite colour (i.e. is not a shadow) then the test is negative. This is because the line does start to fade when the contamination level is near to the action levels, and then disappears when it exceeds the limit. So, if you can see a line then the level is below the cut-off point, so the test is negative.
The basic answer to this is, “no it does not”. In an aircraft context, there should be a delay between treatment with biocide and re-testing to see whether the biocide has been totally effective. This is done to ensure that all treated fuel has been consumed through the engines. This is obviously not possible in a storage tank scenario. In your circumstances we would suggest retesting a week after the biocide has been introduced into a contaminated tank. that would mean that we would be looking for traces of any surviving microbes, not the residue from that which has already been killed.
The FUELSTAT® Result App:
The FUELSTAT® Result App is free to download on Apple or Android devices, simply search for “FUELSTAT” in the appropriate app store. There are 2 access levels available to allow all users to use the app with the features required by their business:
- FUELSTAT® Result – mobile user: Organisations DO NOT have to pre-register; users can immediately download the app and digitally verify their first test results within minutes.
- FUELSTAT® Result & Report: Requires registration, users get the same instant digital verification of the test results. Managers have access to the Report portal to track test results across all of their assets in real time.
Your registration details for the App should be given to you by your Organisation’s administrator. Once inside the App you will find this has been designed to be simple to use without specific instruction. We are continuing to develop the App to make this even more user-friendly and feature rich. Conidia have a detailed training video that will explain the use of the app and how to access the portal so tests results can be analysed and reports generated:
Both access levels of the FUELSTAT® Result package are free of charge, including access to the app, results on a portal, results in Excel format and creation of a unique pdf for each test. Organisations requiring bespoke configuration may be subject to additional charges and organisations that contract Conidia Bioscience Limited for consultancy work with data provided by FUELSTAT® Result will be subject to agreed consultancy rates for each project.
For FUELSTAT® Result & Report each Organisation has their own administrator who will set up users and assign username and login details. This process is part of our security feature to ensure privacy of company information. Our sales & application support team will provide assistance to your company to set up users through a simple back end registration process. Contact us if you have any additional queries.
The data from the app is never sold, shared, used or accessed by any third party without express written consent. Anonymous data collected may be used by Conidia Bioscience for product development and marketing purposes. By request of customer, Conidia Bioscience may also be asked to access data for any operational or maintenance purposes.
It is very simple; details are shown in the instructional video.
Microbial Contamination (Diesel bug and jet fuel fungus):
Microbial contamination is a very serious issue for all users of middle distillate fuels, jet fuel and diesels. A combination of fungi, bacteria & yeasts can feed on the fuel and grow into clumps and films that can cause issues such as; blocked filters, contaminated water scavenge systems, Fuel probe malfunctions & Blocked injectors. See our Microbial Contamination pages to find out more and contact us if you have any queries or concerns about your fuel systems.
Micro-organisms are present wherever sources of food and water exist together. In a fuel system fuel provides the food source, whilst water comes from the fuel itself as well as from external sources like atmospheric humidity, cooling systems and the moisture attractant, (hygroscopic) nature of biofuel.
Water is heavier than fuel and so is found at the bottom of tanks &stores. Microbes tend to live at the water fuel interface, living in the water and feeding off the fuel. They also seek out low flow areas of fuel system and are known to over time to actively create these conditions by ‘digging in’ to structure of tanks and lines, resulting in corrosion and pitting. Heavy contamination can block filters and stop engines too.
Governments worldwide are taking measures to reduce emissions and eke out dwindling fossil fuel stocks. There is also an imperative to reduce the economic risk of and politically unacceptable dependence on fossils fuels and their suppliers. The emissions drive has led to sulphur, seen as the main culprit in the emissions issue, being targeted for reduction. Adding biofuels to fossil fuels is seen as the best current solution to eking out fuel stocks and spreading risk.
Sulphur is a lubricant and so cutting its levels increases fuel system wear and reduces efficiency. Older engines in particular suffer from its reduction. Sulphur also is a bacteria-stat. This means that it interferes with the lifecycle of bugs and slows down their ability to colonise the fuel system.