Digital Image Analysis for Microbiology

The project will be co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the State of Brandenburg (ILB) for the period 2017-2020.

Project description

In addition to viruses, bacteria are the most common infectious agents worldwide. In general, bacterial diseases can be effectively treated by the use of antibiotics, but the number of resistant and multi-drug resistant bacteria is increasing alarmingly. An important reason for this development is the frequent and often unnecessary use of these drugs. Furthermore, the infection of biofilm-forming bacteria, especially in medical implants, catheters and instruments plays an important role. Biofilms are thought to be involved in at least 65% of all bacterial infections. Biofilm-forming bacteria are protected against attacks by the immune system or drugs through the formation of an extracellular matrix and are therefore extremely insensitive to current therapies. Therefore, the clear diagnosis of biofilm is crucial for an effective treatment regimen. Currently used methods to identify, quantify and diagnose microbiological issues are time consuming and labor intensive, despite their medical and scientific relevance. The aim of this project is the development of new, automatic and standardized detection methods for the detection and quantification of bacteria by means of digital image analysis. Basically, it is important to understand bacterial infection mechanisms more accurately and faster, in the end not only to have an improved diagnosis, but above all to enable a more targeted and thus effective therapy.

The project partners GA Generic Assays GmbH and BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg have two platform technologies based on novel fluorescence microscopy available for the implementation of the project goals. In the first step, the intended microbiological issues are developed using the VideoScan technology. The VideoScan technology combines a variety of analytical methods into a fully automated fluorescence microscope system based on digital image processing and suitable for high-throughput applications. In a second step, the technologies developed in this way will be transferred to the commercial platform AKLIDES® and adapted. This is a further development of the VideoScan technology, which has been successfully marketed since 2009 in the field of autoimmune diagnostics. The aim of the project is not only to detect bacteria, for example on host cells or in biofilm, with the help of digital image processing, but also to quantify, differentiate and identify them. Since there are no automated and standardized evaluation systems for most microbiological problems, the aim of the project partners is to provide a reliable, user-independent and reproducible detection and quantification of bacteria at the end of the project. Thus, the high expenditure of time and personnel can be counteracted and a quick diagnosis and targeted therapies are possible.


Brandenburg Technical University (BTU) Cottbus - Senftenberg
Faculty of Environmental and Natural Sciences
Universitätsplatz 1
01968 Senftenberg

Prof. Dr. habil. Peter Schierack
E-Mail: peter.schierack(at)