The earliest days of microbiology were focused on describing and depicting images of newly discovered microbes. But now better access to quantified microbial data is a topic many microbiologists, biochemists, biotechs and other life scientists are passionate about.

Technical innovations, solving problems and serendipity have played a part in revealing microbial functions and forms for over 350 years.

The origins of microbiology go back to Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, a self-made scientist. Antonie was a draper and his need to check the quality of his threads led him to develop an interest in making magnifying glasses. The lenses he developed were so powerful that he was able to use them to examine all kinds of biological samples. His superior lenses led him discover microbes for the first time in the late 1600’s.

Antonie worked with Robert Hooke, the two were Fellows of The Royal Society and in Micrographia (1665), Hooke described the microfungus Mucor. Leeuwenhoek when on to describe protozoa and bacteria. Both Hooke and Leeuwenhoek fabricated simple microscopes with magnifying capabilities from approx. 25-fold to 250-fold ! (Ref: Howard Gest, Notes Rec Royal Society London, 2004 May;58(2):187-201).

The earliest days of microbiology depicted fascinating new microscopic organisms and their forms, revealing this new world of microorganisms. Today life science is concerned with data and obtaining quantitative information from microbes to unravel their function.

There are more than 10,000-catalogued microbes, but only about 500 have been grown in a laboratory ! Within these 500, only a handful of microbes have been extensively researched. Even basic studies of culturing, and physiological experiments could lead to new discoveries from microbes in terms of new species, molecules or new physiologies. We can only fully understand their true function through direct biochemical and physiological studies. Only then will it be possible to harvest this new microbial diversity and exploit them for new biotechnological applications such as cellulose and plastic degradation or optimising protein production.

As life scientists working with anaerobic microbes, we found it frustrating and difficult to collect growth data using bench-top spectrophotometers. Most anaerobic organisms grow slowly and acquiring growth data at high-resolution becomes laborious or even impossible depending on the exact growth conditions required. To solve this problem, we developed a device called MicrobeMeter that can accommodate commonly-used anaerobic Hungate tubes and takes growth readings as frequently as every 6 seconds. It continuously records microbial growth dynamics for many days at a time. We also built in a wireless data collection feature using Bluetooth, along with custom programmes for data logging, visualisation, and analysis. Now we have a range of innovative photometers for both mesophiles and thermophiles.

MicrobeMeters are innovative photometers for automated, continuous measurement of microbial growth of anaerobes, aerobes and thermophiles at up to 85˚C.

MicrobeMeters are:

· Wireless OD600 photometers available as 4 variants from 25˚C to 85˚C,

· For continuous, fully automated and programmable microbial growth data transmitted directly from your incubator to your computer,

· As accurate and with lower variability compared to some spectrophotometers,

· For anaerobes, aerobes and thermophiles up to 85˚C, and

· Ideal for research & education, including undergraduate & post graduates.

Visit our products page for more information.

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