The Institute of Microbiology (IM) has facilities in Bellinzona and Mendrisio where it conducts research and offers services and training in the fields of biosafety, environmental hygiene, pathogen vector control, microbial ecology and environmental biotechnology.


Rapid analysis of highly pathogenic agents, usually in environmental samples and in case of biological incidents (B-events).

The Regional Laboratory South (LR South) for Biosafety is an integral part of the Swiss National Network of Regional Laboratories (RLN) and acts as a regional antenna in the case of type B alerts in support of the National Reference Centers allowing a decentralization of the primary analysis and the selective analysis of the most dangerous microorganisms.

We are competent for the research of dangerous pathogens in samples of various nature:

  • detection of potential bioterrorism agents (Bacillus anthracis Yersinia pestis, Francisella tularensis, Brucella spp., Coxiella burtnetii) e.g. in suspicious powders,
  • analysis of bird feces in case of avian influenza emergencies,
  • analysis of arboviruses potentially transmitted by mosquitoes (e.g. Zika, West Nile virus, dengue and chikungunya).

We also offer advice and expertise in case of biosecurity problems on the territory or at the request of the authorities or private individuals.

Environmental biotechnology

We offer consultancy in the optimization and development of processes in the field of wastewater disposal (micropollutant removal, annamox, etc.) and in the valorization of waste biomass (biogas production).

Vector Ecology

The Institute of Microbiology offers scientific support for the control of infectious disease vectors, for the drafting of monitoring and containment plans and for the elaboration of guidelines in case of importation of infectious diseases transmissible by vectors by collaborating with the Cantonal Working Group on Mosquitoes and the Cantonal Medical Office.

Microbial Ecology

The area of microbial ecology and environmental microbiology deals with microbial diversity in different ecosystems and the effect they have on the environment. We can offer our expertise for environmental microbiological analyses such as biodiversity assessments of natural water environments (lakes, rivers or wetlands) or urban environments (impact of disinfection/sterilization systems), punctual or regular monitoring of lake water columns, and environmental impact studies related to biogeochemical and bioremediation cycles.

Hygiene and environment

The research allows the Institute of Microbiology (IM) a continuous cognitive and technical update that can be put at the service of internal projects applied or requested by third parties such as rapid identification of microorganisms, screening of microbial contaminants in production processes, confirmation analysis of pathogenic microorganisms, qualitative and quantitative analysis of pathogenic and environmental microorganisms in different matrices, or molecular fingerprinting for epidemiological applications such as the determination of the origin of contamination.