“The Digital Microbiologist”


We have now had the Kiestra TLA up and running for a week in our laboratory. As you can expect, the learning curve is steep and the sorting out of “teething problems” is a daily process at present.

Nevertheless one can undoubtedly see the potential, both in the short and long term.

One aspect of the system amongst many that I particularly like is the digital images of the agar plates.

These are advantageous for the following reasons:

  • Enhanced signout process: Whilst authorising a result one can not only check the request form, but also digital images of the agar plates, with all the attached audit trails.
  • Long term storage of plate images: Real agar plates dry up and need to be thrown away after a week or so. Digital images can be stored for as long as you need them.
  • Remote work-up: Theoretically both plate reading and review could occur outwith the laboratory. We have not attempted this yet but the potential is certainly there and I am sure will be utilised eventually. Plates on the “smart incubators” that become ready for reading in the middle of the night could be read immediately by dayshift people in a partner laboratory on the other side of the world!

It would be nice to have digital imaging of the Gram stains also and I am sure this will come in the near future.

Once you have become a digital microbiologist, I suspect it would be very difficult to go back to the way things were done before…



One thought on ““The Digital Microbiologist”

  1. So true Michael.. We had to recently go ‘offline’ over a 3 day period while we upgraded our hardware (motor and track replacements…). Conclusion: The inefficiencies and downsides of the ‘old’ ways were highlighted – i hope we never have to experience conventional microbiology again! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *