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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Counting Microbes on a Smartphone

Bacterial colonies on a culture plate.

The APD Colony Counter App uses an algorithm to count the bacterial colonies on a culture plate.

Credit: A*STAR Bioinformatics Institute

Researchers at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) Bioinformatics Institute and James Cook University Singapore have developed the APD Colony Counter App suite, an Android-based smartphone app they say provides a cost-effective and accurate alternative to the traditionally labor-intensive task of counting bacterial colonies on a culture.

The researchers developed an algorithm that provides the most accurate colony counts by creating better contrasts for colony detection than other image-processing algorithms.

They currently are using the app to streamline their microbial analysis service, which they conduct for other scientists.

However, the app also is available for use on data outside of the A*STAR lab. The researchers say the program could bring more flexibility to researchers around the world.

"By having apps that anyone can access anywhere, I'm hoping that we're going to bring back the spatial freedom for scientists to make discoveries anytime, anywhere," says A*STAR researcher Samuel Gan.

From A*STAR Research
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Abstracts Copyright © 2017 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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