Synbiosis announces that Cultex Laboratories GmbH, a German provider of novel in-vitro toxicology testing is using a ProtoCOL automated colony counter as part of its Ames Test methodology to determine the mutagenic effects of airborne toxins.

The ProtoCOL system at Cultex, with its specially adapted 50 mm plate holder, is being used to accurately count the numbers of mutant Salmonella or E.coli colonies that can grow on nutrient agar and histidine, after these tester strains have been exposed to toxic gases such as cigarette smoke or diesel exhaust fumes. This allows microbiologists at Cultex to generate standardised data on the genotoxicity of these gaseous compounds by eliminating potential processing errors, which can occur when having to manually count colonies and then type in figures.

Professor Michaela Aufderheide, Manager at Cultex Laboratories explained: “The mutagenicity of the gaseous substances we are testing is proportional to the number of colonies we observe in our Ames Test. Therefore, we need to count the colonies precisely to provide the best advice on how hazardous these compounds really are. Since we have to assess thousands of colonies each week it would be impossible for one scientist to do all the assessments we require for a standardised result.”

Professor Aufderheide added: “To achieve this level of reproducibility, we have used a ProtoCOL system since 2007. As the system automates enumeration and data input, we can obtain accurate counts time after time and can confidently supply our clients with sound predictions about substance genotoxicity.”

Martin Smith of Synbiosis said: “This is an exciting development for us as it is the first time the ProtoCOL is being utilised routinely as part of a commercial Ames Test. Because the system is generating good results and can be easily integrated into a GMP or GLP environment, this means the ProtoCOL automated colony counter is an intelligent option for any industrial toxicologists looking to improve the quality of their Ames Test data.”

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