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Employee Interview


Jarinda Rink,

Laboratory technician

Jarinda has been working at the Winclove laboratory for almost two years now. We asked her about her work and her experiences at the lab.

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  Jarinda Rink

How did you end up at Winclove?

I began at Winclove as an intern. My internship project focused on optimizing the gastrointestinal survival model. We use this model to determine how, or how well, bacteria survive the journey through the gastrointestinal tract. It takes a lot of time to use the model. Just one test takes roughly six hours and you must keep a watch on it all the time. Every 15 minutes new agents must be added. My goal was to develop a faster and less labour-intensive model. I’ve taken the first steps in that direction and a colleague will now finish the job!

You decided to stay on after your internship?

Yes. I liked the atmosphere at Winclove and the people are nice. After completing my studies in biology and medical laboratory research, I decided to take up a part-time follow-up course of study while also working part-time at Winclove. I’m now working on analyses for the Quality Control (QC) and Research & Development (R&D) departments.  


What kind of tests does the laboratory perform for QC and R&D?

For R&D we carry out various analyses including survival tests, challenge tests and activity tests. This involves measuring the quantity of lactic acid produced by the bacteria. The more active the bacteria, the more lactic acid they produce. For QC we conduct all kinds of quality analyses on batches made by the production department. These include tests for bacterial counts (to see how many Colony-Forming Units a formulation contains), moisture content tests and organoleptic tests. This involves assessing the probiotic for taste, appearance, odour and structure. And we examine the formulations to make sure they are not infected with bad bacteria, or pathogens.



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Organoleptic testing

How do you tell a ‘good’ bacterium from a ‘bad’ one?

You can do this in various ways. To determine whether a formulation is infected with a pathogen, we perform an API test (Analytical Profile Index). Different strains of bacteria have very different metabolic systems: they convert a wide range of substances. You can recognize a bacterium based on the substances that it produces. The API test shows which substances the bacterium converts and these outcomes tell us which bacterium it is and thus whether or not it is a pathogen.


You can also use Gram staining to find out whether you are looking at a pathogen or a ‘good’ bacterium. To do this, we first let the probiotic grow on a culture medium on which only pathogens are able to grow.  If something grows on the plate, we examine whether or not it is a pathogen.



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An API test

In some cases, it can still be a good bacterium. For example, Bacillus coagulans W183 is a probiotic bacterium, while Bacillus cereus is a pathogen. We colour the bacterium with a Gram stain. Gram staining differentiates bacteria by the properties of their cell walls. You have Gram-positive and Gram-negative cell walls. All probiotic bacteria have a Gram-positive (thick) cell wall,  pathogens can have a Gram-negative (thin) or Gram-positive cell wall. Gram staining results in the Gram-positive bacteria becoming purple, while the Gram-negative bacteria become pink. We examine the colour of the stains under the microscope to determine whether it is a probiotic strain. But actually we almost never encounter a pathogen!

What does a bacterium look like under a microscope?

It depends on the type of bacterium involved. There are various different shapes: rods, cocci, rods connected to each other, cocci connected to each other. The bacillus, for example, looks just like a brick.  



Do you personally use probiotics?

Yes. I take Winclove 326 for general intestinal health and to stay fit. I’m happy with how it works and I recommend it to other people. My parents’ cat had intestinal problems and now also gets probiotics!  




Do you watch out for bacteria at home?

My studies made me very conscious of where bacteria occur, but I’m not a hygiene freak or anything like that. However, I do throw away meat products on time and I cook chicken thoroughly. I’m very aware of potential food poisoning risks. But most bacteria can be found on everyday objects like keyboards and dishcloths. Research has established that your keyboard is ‘dirtier’ than your toilet. But you don’t need to be too worried about immediately contracting a disease from your keyboard!




Employee interview Winclove

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