In the United States, approximately 100 patients develop fatal sepsis associated with platelet transfusions every year. Current culture methods take 24-48 hours to acquire results, which in turn decrease the shelf life of platelets. Many of the microorganisms that contaminate platelets can replicate easily at room temperature, which is the necessary storage temperature to keep platelets functional. Therefore, there is a need for in-situ quality control assessment of the platelet quality. For this purpose, a real time spectrophotometric technique has been developed. The Spectral Acquisition Processing Detection (SAPD) method, comprised of a UV-vis spectrophotometer and modeling algorithms, is a rapid method that can be performed prior to platelet transfusion to decrease the risk of bacterial infection to patients. The SAPD method has been used to determine changes in cell suspensions, based on size, shape, chemical composition and internal structure. Changes in these cell characteristics can in turn be used to determine microbial contamination, platelet aging and other physiologic changes. Detection limits of this method for platelet suspensions seeded with bacterial contaminants were identified to be less than 100 cfu/ml of sample. Bacterial counts below 1000 cfu/ml are not considered clinically significant. The SAPD method can provide real-time identification of bacterial contamination of platelets affording patients an increased level of safety without causing undue strain on laboratory budgets or personnel while increasing the time frame that platelets can be used by dramatically shortening contaminant detection time.