This article answers the most common questions surrounding the LuciPac A3 Swabs used in conjunction with the A3 handheld device - helping you to enhance Hygiene Monitoring across your food production site.

Since the launch of A3 technology in 2017, a growing number of food and beverage production sites have switched out their conventional ATP tests for the more sensitive A3 system.

ATP is a molecule found in all living cells, so ATP detection has traditionally been used to determine whether or not a surface is contaminated with organic residue. However, ATP is also an unstable molecule that degrades to AMP and ADP during common processes such as heating, cleaning, and fermentation. Therefore, a truly effective Hygiene Monitoring system has to be able to detect all three molecules: ATP+ADP+AMP. This is why the A3 system has become so popular.

Whether you already have the A3 system at your site or you are still considering the possibility, one of the most important aspects to understand is the role of the LuciPac A3 Swabs. With this in mind, we have answered the most common questions relating to this topic.

Below is a short video demonstration of the A3 system. Alternatively, you can jump ahead to the information relating to the swabs.

What are the different types of swab and which is right for my site?

There are three different types of swabs that can be used  in conjunction with the A3 handheld device. The range includes: Surface Swabs, Water Swabs, and Pre-moistened Surface Swabs.

Surface Swabs

Sites that need to test dry surfaces, but want to avoid the potential chemical residue of pre-moistened swabs will often dip standard surface swabs into tap water. This should only impact the reading by up to 30 RLU, so not a significant amount.

Water Swabs

If your food or beverage production site needs to monitor the cleanliness levels of water, Clean-In-Process rinse water, or any other liquid samples, the LuciPac A3 water swabs have been designed with this specific application in mind.

Pre-Moistened Swabs

These swabs are typically favoured by sites that need to test particularly dry surfaces, but want to cut out the time and effort it takes to dip the swab in tap water. Conversely, they are avoided by factories that are concerned about chemical residue.

Can swabs from other brands be used in conjunction with the A3 handheld device?

In short, no. You should only use swabs that are compatible with the A3 handheld device, otherwise the system is not going to work.

One reason for this is because the unique, patented Lucipac A3 swabs introduce enzymes that enable the simultaneous detection of all three forms of the adenosine molecule. Put simply, it is the enzymes inside the swab that ensure the A3 system moves beyond a conventional ATP test, able to detect not only ATP, but also ADP and AMP. Without the enzymes in the swab this level of sensitivity wouldn’t be possible. What’s more, the handheld device will only accept and register compatible swabs.

What is the lifespan of my swabs and how should I store them?

The ideal storage conditions for LuciPac A3 Swabs is a fridge that is kept within a temperature range of 2-8°C. It’s important to note that the swabs for this system should never be frozen.

Under these conditions, your swabs should be suitable for use until the expiry date printed on the box. With this in mind, we endeavour to supply swabs with an expiry date of 12 months minimum.

Alternatively, if you choose to store your A3 swabs at 25°C, they should last 14 days unopened, and if you store them at 30°C, they should last five days unopened. This is worth considering if you plan to use your swabs within a short period of time, as if this is the case, keeping them at an ambient temperature shouldn’t be a problem.

Working closely with a team of microbiologists, Klipspringer provides ongoing support for your A3 system. This involves helping you to choose the right number of swabs for each order and giving you the option of staggering your deliveries to secure swabs with the optimum lifespan.

If I have accidentally left my swabs out, do I need to throw them away?

This will depend on a number of factors, namely the length of time the swabs were left out for and the conditions they were exposed to. For example, if your swabs were only left out for a couple of hours and were exposed to an environment just a couple of degrees cooler or hotter than the optimum storage temperature, there is a chance that they will still be functional. Alternatively, if they were left out for a couple of days and exposed to a dramatic change in temperature, they are most likely compromised. 

If you are ever in doubt about the best way to proceed, our in-house A3 expert Radek Tameczka will be available to provide support and relevant resources. You can also contact our customer service team on 01473 461800 or

Can I reuse my swabs?

LuciPac A3 swabs are designed for single use and cannot be reused. When it comes to Hygiene Monitoring, you need to ensure your results are accurate by eliminating any risk of them being compromised. Such a risk would certainly occur if you used the same swab to test different surfaces or even the same surface more than once. Instead, you should use one swab for each of your tests. However, once you have used the swab, it is worth noting that you will have up to two hours before you need to check it using the A3 handheld device. In contrast, the enzyme present in a conventional ATP swab is only active for around 15 minutes.

How should I dispose of my used swabs?

If possible, you should recycle your swabs. This will help you to meet your site’s sustainability targets – shining a positive light on your factory and giving you the edge when dealing with eco-conscious customers. However, this will all depend on your factory’s current approach to waste disposal and the extent to which sustainability is prioritised at your site.

It is also worth noting that the latest version of the LuciPac A3 swabs have been made from recycled materials. Both styles are still available, but this should afford you some flexibility when considering your options.

You now have the answers to the most common questions surrounding LuciPac A3 swabs and the role they play in effective Hygiene Monitoring.

If you require any further guidance, the Klipspringer team would be happy to help with your enquiries. Our in-house A3 expert Radek Tameczka will be available to provide support and relevant resources. You can also contact us on 01473 461800 or Alternatively, you can use the form below to arrange a consultation

If you would like further guidance relating to your Hygiene Monitoring requirements, the Klipspringer team would be happy to help. Share your details below to arrange a free consultation.