ProtoCOL 2 allows researchers to count colonies

Published: 21-Jan-2011

Data enables them accurately to assess why and how yeast cells repair their DNA

Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia, US is using a ProtoCOL 2 automated colony counter from Synbiosis of Cambridge, UK to count colonies of yeast used as a model system for human DNA repair research.

Geneticists in the Department of Biology at the University are using the ProtoCOL system to count colonies of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to assess accurately how many yeast cells can repair their DNA after they have been subjected to various types of mutagenesis.

Scientists at Emory believe that showing why and how cells repair their DNA in this yeast could help them better understand and treat human diseases such as colorectal cancer associated with DNA mismatch repair defects.

‘Since we need sufficient data points for statistical analysis, we spent a lot of time manually counting hundreds of plates. This was a task our trained staff did not find enjoyable or easy. We tried image analysis software to automate the process but found it couldn’t discriminate different colonies if they were clumped together, as well as being very time-consuming to use,’ said Gray Crouse, professor of Biology at Emory University.

ProtoCOL 2 can count colonies according to size or colour and having a segregated count of different sizes or colours is a useful feature for the University, said Crouse. ProtoCOL 2 also indicates every colony it has counted with a dot, which allows the scientists to review tricky areas manually.

‘Overall, we have been very pleased to have ProtoCOL 2 and it is proving to be an invaluable addition to our lab,’ said Crouse.

Synbiosis, a division of the Synoptics Group, is a supplier of integrated imaging solutions for automatic counting and analysis of microbial colonies and zone measurement. Its systems are installed in food, pharmaceutical, environmental and research microbiology laboratories worldwide.

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