Automated imaging with ScanLag reveals previously undetectable bacterial growth phenotypes

Irit Levin-Reisman, Orit Gefen, Ofer Fridman, Irine Ronin, David Shwa, Hila Sheftel, Nathalie Q. Balaban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


We developed an automated system, ScanLag, that measures in parallel the delay in growth (lag time) and growth rate of thousands of cells. Using ScanLag, we detected small subpopulations of bacteria with dramatically increased lag time upon starvation. By screening a library of Escherichia coli deletion mutants, we achieved two-dimensional mapping of growth characteristics, which showed that ScanLag enables multidimensional screens for quantitative characterization and identification of rare phenotypic variants.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)737-739
Number of pages3
JournalNature Methods
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank A. Keynan for invaluable discussions on the importance of the lag phase, D. Azulay and A. Bar-Yaacov for helpful theoretical discussions, I. Rosenshine (Hebrew University) for strains, and the National BioResource Project and National Institute of Genetics, Japan for the large and medium deletion mutants library, S. Silbert for initial software development and E. Rotem and S. Pearl for technical support and comments on the manuscript. The work was supported by the Human Frontier Science Program and by the Israel Science Foundation.


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