Equipment and Processing Report: Best Practices for Digital Photomicrography of Pharmaceutical Contaminants
Kristen D. Wiley, McCrone Associates, Inc., Westmont, Illinois
Pharmaceutical Technology - April 20, 2011
Contaminants, such as hairs and fibers, in a pharmaceutical solution are sometimes visible during postfilling inspection. If undetected, these undesirable materials can potentially threaten the manufacturer’s reputation and the patient’s well being. When a product fails inspection, manufacturing companies need to identify the cause of the contamination before production can continue.
Many companies rely on various microanalytical techniques, along with digital photomicrography, to aid in contaminant identification. During microscopic analysis, personnel can attach a digital camera to the light microscope to capture digital images of the sample.
The implementation of digital photomicrography has expanded the capabilities of microanalysis. But if used incorrectly, the technique can hurt more than help. Digitally altering images after they have been captured to make the contaminant more pronounced, or to highlight certain elements within the sample, reduces the validity of the scientific data.