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New application of ProtoCOL 2 colony counting technology speeds up detection of legionella in contaminated water supplies

The Synbiosis technical team found that by using the ProtoCOL 2 system, 600 Legionella plates could be accurately processed per hour, which is approximately 30 fold more than can be achieved using time consuming, error-prone manual techniques. The team used ProtoCOL 2’s ground-breaking red, blue and green LED lighting (patent pending) with the dark screens shut to allow excellent reflection-free imaging of shiny buffered charcoal yeast extract media and Legionella colonies.

The team tested the ProtoCOL 2’s method of capturing three different coloured images and automatically combining them to generate life-like full colour images. They established that this method ensured easy identification and counts of the Legionella colonies from background flora on Legionella growth media.

Martin Smith of Synbiosis commented: “Microbial contamination with Legionella, which can cause a potentially fatal form of pneumonia, is ubiquitous in both man-made and natural water sources, and remains an increasing concern. The water industry is continually tightening its regulations worldwide and this has led to a significant increase in the screening and identification of Legionella bacteria in drinking, environmental and recreational water supplies.”

Smith continued: “Plates of water samples tend to vary widely from low to very high counts. Automating the counting process and recording the results consistently is critical. Testing the ProtoCOL 2, we have proved the system delivers this, ensuring accurate quantification of Legionella in water samples, thus offering microbiologists an excellent method of rapidly checking the safety of water supplies and equipment.”

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