Robust microbial cell segmentation by optical-phase thresholding with minimal processing requirements.

H. Alanazi, A. J. Canul, A. Garman, J. Quimby, A. E. Vasdekis
Cytometry, 91: 443-449


High-throughput imaging with single-cell resolution has enabled remarkable discoveries in cell physiology and Systems Biology investigations. A common, and often the most challenging step in all such imaging implementations, is the ability to segment multiple images to regions that correspond to individual cells. Here, a robust segmentation strategy for microbial cells using Quantitative Phase Imaging is reported. The proposed method enables a greater than 99% yeast cell segmentation success rate, without any computationally-intensive, post-acquisition processing. We also detail how the method can be expanded to bacterial cell segmentation with 98% success rates with substantially reduced processing requirements in comparison to existing methods. We attribute this improved performance to the remarkably uniform background, elimination of cell-to-cell and intracellular optical artifacts, and enhanced signal-to-background ratio—all innate properties of imaging in the optical-phase domain

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