What Are Different Types of Cell Counters?

You will find a cell counter almost everywhere, from biology laboratories to breweries. This is because cell counters are important tools when producing various products and when conducting scientific research. For instance, in industries, like pharmaceuticals, you can use cell counters to manufacture biologics, vaccines, and cell therapies. In different sectors, it is best to work with the required amount of cells at different production stages. That’s where dependable and accurate cell counters become a staple in efficient workflows. To make the right decision, here are different types of cell counters that you can use:

  1. Coulter Counters

A colter counter is a particle counter that depends on electrical impedance. When the liquid containing cells draws through a tiny aperture, it makes a change in the impedance proportional to the particles’ size.  It provides the size and number of cells per particle in samples. However, the counter is not able to provide information on cell viability.

  1. Flow Cytometers

These types measure the fluorescent and optical characteristics of cells through the light scatter principle. Flow cytometers consist of electronics, an optical system, and a fluidic system. Suspended cells often flow down the fluid stream before they meet laser light. From that point, the light spreads in various directions, depending on the extrinsic and intrinsic characteristics. Then, the collected light gets converted using a computer before it is visualized. Light can scatter either sideways or forward. Forward-scattering light is often used to determine the viability and size of cells, and then distinguish between living cells and debris. On the other hand, light that’s scattered sideways helps to show the internal traits of a cell.

  1. Image-Based Counters

These systems use fluorescent or brightfield microscopy to capture images of cells. Some of them work based on flow imaging methods where cells are often drawn into the capillary and cells are counted or imaged as they pass through a detector. You can calculate cell viability using a dye exclusion method, like Trypan Blue. This dye analyzes images, depending on specific parameters, like brightness, circularity, and cell diameter to determine cell viability and amount of cells.

  1. Time-Lapse Cytometers

Users place these cytometers inside conventional cell culture incubators so as to continuously facilitate cells’ observation. By combining image cytometry, time-lapse microscopy, and non-heat-generating sources of light, like a light-emitting diode, you can use a time-lapse cytometer to familiarize yourself with cellular dynamics, particularly in an experiment where staining live cells can affect the final results.

  1. Impedance Counters

These systems work by simply suspending cells in electrolyte solutions and passing electric currents in the mixture. While the cells travel via an aperture in structures, an inhibition conducted between terminals generates a pulse. You will need to include a lytic reagent in a solution, which only sees WBS (white blood cells), without interfering with platelets. At this stage, your solution will pass through another detector so as to count platelets, WBCs, and RBCs.

Whether you want a quick turnaround, precise counts, or strong post-analysis, you will always find the right cell counter out there for you. Finding a perfect cell counter that can meet your budget won’t be easy, but introducing a more dependable approach that can free up your will ensure you have a quick ROI.