Comparison of laser diffraction and image analysis for measurement of Streptomyces coelicolor cell clumps and pellets
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Morphology is important in industrial processes involving filamentous organisms because it affects the mixing and mass transfer and can be linked to productivity. Image analysis provides detailed information about the morphology but, in practice, it is often laborious including both collection of high quality images and image processing. Laser diffraction is rapid and fully automatic and provides a volume-weighted distribution of the particle sizes. However, it is based on a number of assumptions that do not always apply to samples. We have evaluated laser diffraction to measure cell clumps and pellets of Streptomyces coelicolor compare to image analysis. Samples, taken five times during fed-batch cultivation, were analyzed by image analysis and laser diffraction. The volume-weighted size distribution was calculated for each sample. Laser diffraction and image analysis yielded similar size distributions, i.e. unimodal or bimodal distributions. Both techniques produced similar estimations of the population means, whereas the estimates of the standard deviations were generally higher using laser diffraction compared to image analysis. Therefore, laser diffraction measurements are high quality and the technique may be useful when rapid measurements of filamentous cell clumps and pellets are required.