Although 0.1 microm rated filters intended for pharmaceutical sterilization applications have been commercially available for at least 15 years, there is no industry-wide standard for qualifying the microbial removal performance of these filters. In this article, we report on the bacterial challenge methodology used to screen four bacterial species for potential utility as a standard challenge organism to qualify 0.1 microm rated filters. These isolates were, in their natural state, demonstrated to penetrate 0.2/0.22 microm rated filters in prior studies. In the screening challenges described in this study, three out of these four candidates tested demonstrated consistent penetration of one 0.22 microm rated filter type tested (when cultured in a low nutrient medium under standard laboratory conditions). These included 6204-22 (FAME ID Acidovorax avenae citrulli), 6266-15 (FAME ID Comamonas acidovorans), and 6266-34 (FAME ID Hydrogenophaga pseudoflava). Of these, H. pseudoflava (6266-34) was chosen for additional experiments with other 0.2 microm rated filter membranes. In total, seventeen 0.2 and 0.22 microm rated filter discs, spanning five different "sterilizing grade" filter types from three different filter manufacturers were tested. H. pseudoflava penetration was observed for every filter tested. Under the same challenge conditions, H. pseudoflava was consistently retained by a 0.1 microm rated hydrophilic PVDF (polyvinylidenefluoride) filter with a specified high titer reduction claim for Acholeplasma laidlawii. In order to ensure selection of the most stable penetrative phenotype (i.e., select for nonrevertants), H. pseudoflava was subjected to three rounds of "filter cloning," and these results are described herein. The advantages of using H. pseudoflava for qualifying the microbial removal performance of 0.1 microm rated filters are also discussed.