Synbiosis is pleased to announce its ProtoCOL automated colony counter offers new features to guarantee the fastest, most accurate testing of pneumococcal vaccines using an OPKA assay.

The ProtoCOL system now has a high resolution CCD camera that can detect white or red coloured S.pneumoniae colonies (down to 0.08 mm in size) produced post-OPKA assay, making this the most accurate commercially available colony counter. The system’s software has been upgraded to include a new colony separation tool, which microbiologists can apply to OPKA assay plates to separate touching colonies. This combination ensures microbiologists can achieve accurate counting results in seconds, even when analysing large numbers of small colonies clustered together.

The system’s new software allows users to save their plate template settings and their results can be automatically transferred into Excel where a vaccine’s name can be recorded. These additions to the software reduce set-up time for future batches and also eliminate variations that can occur when different users perform manual colony counts. An image library is also created alongside the database, making it easy to permit regulatory inspectors to see an accurate colour picture of the original OPKA assay plate months or years after its disposal. The ProtoCOL software is GLP compliant and is easily integrated into a CF21 part 11 environment, which means the ProtoCOL can be used in a vaccine research or manufacturing setting.

Martin Smith of Synbiosis commented: “OPKA assays often generate closely clustered S.pneumoniae colonies that are smaller than a pin head and are extremely difficult to count manually. We are delighted to have used our imaging expertise to design features in an unrivalled version of our ProtoCOL to solve this problem. This system will significantly increase productivity, without increasing staff costs, making the ProtoCOL colony counter an essential part of any biotech or pharma company’s pneumococcal vaccine testing programmes.”

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