Using automated cell counters to increase accuracy, throughput and safety in life sciences research

It is standard practice to grow cells in culture flasks or dishes. Samples are often taken from these culture dishes to measure their feasibility, density, and other similar factors. A haemocytometer instrument is routinely used to measure the viability and density factors, with visual analysis of the dishes under a microscope.

This is a manual technique that provides precise results, but there are certain disadvantages associated with this approach. For instance, this process involves counting, constant cleaning, and manual data logging, all of which are highly tedious, in addition when this manual process is being performed, biohazard considerations have to be considered.

Automated Cell Counters

Different types of automated cell counters were launched into the market in the past decade to overcome this issue. Advances in identification and detection algorithms, and developments in digital imaging cameras have resulted in the growth of innovative cell counter instruments that enable a faster, safer, and easier process flow (Figure 1).

With cell counting automation, greater throughput is realized, biohazard concerns are reduced to a large extent, significant amount of time is saved, and precise data capture, as well as documentation of results is achieved.

Figure 1. Advances in digital imaging cameras and the development of unique detection and identification algorithms have resulted in new cell counter instrumentation that allows for a safer, faster, and easier process.

Lumenera’s Imaging Technologies

Lumenera provide a wide range of imaging technologies to manufacturers of automated cell counters. Sensitivity, frame rate, and camera resolution are matched to the different cell-counting tasks needed for specific applications. For example, viability and general cell counting are utilized with Trypan blue stain. The stain only labels the dead or damaged cells, bypassing healthy cells that are covered in intact membranes.

In this study, the manufacturers opted to utilize Lumenera’s advanced three or five megapixel CMOS sensor technology. The manufacturer’s software streams data over an USB 2.0 interface. This software differentiates the overall cell numbers, and distinguishes healthy cells from the dead ones.

With Lumenera’s CMOS cameras, users can realize excellent color reproduction and improved resolution at a competitive cost. These functions are important as tissue culture labs are increasingly using the CMOS cameras in their studies. If Lumenera’s SDK and API library are used to combine the first camera, subsequent integration of cameras for high-end application purposes is made a simple.

Lumenera have also worked with other manufacturers who had more challenging applications that required improved cellular resolution. Different types of cells in primary cell cultures, in addition to low-to-high cell density, raises the demand on the imaging needs. To handle such situations, manufacturers are using a range of Lumenera’s CCD-based USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 cameras.

In order to meet the ever-increasing demands of brightfield applications, the cameras are designed to deliver higher resolution and dynamic range. Recently, fluorescent imaging methods were introduced by cell counter manufacturers as a part of their overall product offering. A wide range of applications, including cytotoxicity and protein expression, were made available via fluorescent testing and quantification.

Lumenera recently launched the INFINITY3S-1UR USB 3.0 camera that is integrated with the new Sony ICX825 sensor. The company have also developed single-stage cooled cameras. These products collectively provide the improved sensitivity required by cell counter manufacturers.

About Lumenera

Lumenera Corporation, a division of Roper Industries, headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, is a leading developer and manufacturer of high performance digital cameras and custom imaging solutions. Lumenera cameras are used worldwide in a diverse range of industrial, scientific and security applications.

Lumenera solutions provide unique combinations of speed, resolution and sensitivity in order to satisfy the most demanding digital imaging requirements. Lumenera customers achieve the benefit of superior price to performance ratios and faster time to market with the company's commitment to high quality, cost effective product solutions.

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Last updated: Dec 4, 2018 at 9:48 AM


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