Conventional diagnosis and identification of bacteria requires shipment of samples to a laboratory for genetic and biochemical analysis. This process can take days and imposes significant delay to action in situations where timely intervention can save lives and reduce associated costs. To enable faster response to an outbreak, a low-cost, small-footprint, portable microbial-identification instrument using forward scatterometry has been developed.


This device, weighing 9 lb and measuring 12 × 6 × 10.5 in., utilizes elastic light scatter (ELS) patterns to accurately capture bacterial colony characteristics and delivers the classification results via wireless access. The overall system consists of two CCD cameras, one rotational and one translational stage, and a 635-nm laser diode. Various software algorithms such as Hough transform, 2-D geometric moments, and the traveling salesman problem (TSP) have been implemented to provide colony count and circularity, centering process, and minimized travel time among colonies.


Experiments were conducted with four bacteria genera using pure and mixed plate and as proof of principle a field test was conducted in four different locations where the average classification rate ranged between 95 and 100%.


This is the publisher pdf of Euiwon Bae, Dawei Ying, Donald Kramer, Valery Patsekin, Bartek Rajwa, Cheryl Holdman, Jennifer Sturgis, V Davisson, J Robinson. Journal of Biological Engineering 2012, 6:12 (28 August 2012) and is available at: 10.1186/1754-1611-6-12.


Portable bacterial identification; Forward scattering; Colony count; Automation

Date of this Version