Two Tech Notes that demonstrate the advantages of Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc‘s TC10 automated cell counter are now available. The TC10 cell counter is a benchtop instrument that counts mammalian cells in one simple, rapid step and produces more accurate and reliable results than other automated cell counters or manual counting using a hemocytometer.

Tech Note 6003 reports on the degree of variability when counting cells using manual hemocytometers, including errors introduced by the device and by users. Count accuracy is influenced by both the area being counted and cell concentration. In addition, researchers count cells differently based on how they interpret cells that lie on grid lines and on the presence of debris and clusters.

In contrast, the TC10 cell counter can eliminate subjectivity in counting by applying algorithms trained to identify cells, segregate clusters, and reject cell debris. Tech Note 6003 reports that using the TC10 cell counter, researchers determined a count coefficient of variation (CV) of less than 3.9%, compared to a CV of 15.6% when cells were counted by hand.

Other available automated cell counters use a single focal plane to assess cell viability, which often leads to miscounting of live cells. In addition, light scattering and alignment of cells at different heights in a counting chamber can cause some live cells to appear dead.

The TC10 cell counter is the only automated cell counter that uses multiple focal planes to assess cell viability, which, using trypan blue staining, provides more accurate counting of live cells. Tech Note 6011 shows that by scoring each cell in the counting field across multiple focal planes, the TC10 cell counter can precisely determine if cells are dead or alive. Using just a single focal plane for analysis not only increases the risk of mistaking live cells for dead ones but also increases the likelihood of severely undercounting the total number of cells.

In addition to total cell and live cell counting accuracy, a major benefit of automated cell counting over manual methods is speed. Tech Note 6003 reports that it can take up 3 minutes to count cells using a hemocytometer but that it takes only 20 seconds or less when using the TC10 cell counter, regardless of the cell concentration.

Source: Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc