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8th April 2024  Content supplied by: Clever Culture Systems

TSA Media – What’s Your Pick, What’s the Difference?

Clever Culture Systems' APAS Independence: Automated Environmental Monitoring Culture Plate Analysis

  • APAS Independence is an AI technology for automated reading of environmental monitoring culture plates.
  • The technology captures images of Tryptic Soy Agar (TSA) media from different manufacturers.
  • The resulting images show variations in the agar's color, growth morphologies, and moisture levels.
  • The system has been validated for all major media manufacturers, allowing no need to change current processes or media.

Clever Culture Systems have developed an artificial intelligence technology, the APAS Independence, for automated reading of environmental monitoring culture plates. Tryptic Soy Agar (TSA) has long been the standard media for organism culturing. The relatively simple formulation, as prescribed by the US Pharmacopoeia, is consistent across many manufacturers - but are they all the same? Does it matter?

APAS® Independence – an Automated Plate Analysis System – was used to capture images of TSA media from different manufacturers that had either been inoculated with a small panel of reference organisms or used as settle plates in an uncontrolled environment.

Immediately obvious was the variation in the colour of the agar itself. Each product appeared to have a similar straw colour, differing mostly in darkness, with some even showing a blue-green, teal colour instead – perhaps a result of differences in the dish material and or design. Growth morphologies differed between products as well, with Pseudomonas aeruginosa’s colour ranging from green, to grey, brown, and pink. Aspergillus brasiliensis also exhibited some variation in both the colour and density of its mycelium. While the morphology of Staphylococcus aureus appeared to be more consistent, there were still variations observed in colony colour.

Differences in growth morphology are further exacerbated by the apparent levels of moisture present in the media varying from batch to batch, as well as the presence of neutralisers which may also differ in composition between manufacturers.

So, despite the base formulations of the products being consistent, the resulting images are anything but. It is therefore incumbent on laboratories seeking to adopt automation systems to ensure they operate successfully within their own processes and have alternate options available for business continuity.

In the development of the APAS Independence, Clever Culture Systems have taken a broad approach to account for the challenges in observed variations in culture media and colony morphologies present. The resulting system has been validated for all major media manufacturers meaning there is no requirement to change your current processes or media when adopting the system.

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Date Published: 8th April 2024

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