Current microbiological methods currently used in the industry to characterize the behavior of yeast, i.e. Petri dish observation under microscope, are labor intensive and only give global information about the physiological state of yeast. During propagation the increase in biomass is the result of both the number and size of the cells, and most importantly budding.

The changes in yeast morphology that occur prior to and during budding can only be tracked based on their optical properties – yeast cell morphology changes to an elongated morphology prior to budding. Budding cells are indicated with blue dots in the images below (other colors are used for debugging purposes and are not relevant here).

This new elongated, enlarged yeast morphology can be tracked in real time in a fermentation tank up to cell densities of 1 billion cells/ml. The same detection method can also be used for cell counting and discriminating between live and dead cells. Since it is based only on the optical characteristics of the cells it is, therefore, label free.

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