Friday, April 13, 2012

Focus On: Light-Scattering, Nephelometers, and Biological Applications

Nephelometers are instruments that measure light-scattering by particles in a gas or in a liquid sample. In most instances, light of a particular wavelength is directed onto a sample and if there are particles in the sample, the light will be scattered. The amount of light scattered is proportional to the number and to the size of the particles in the sample. Here is a graphical representation of this property in the NEPHELOstar Plus microplate reader measuring compound solubility:

The NEPHELOstar Plus from BMG LABTECH is a new and improved laser-based microplate nephelometer that will be highlighted here in the coming week and will be showcased at Analytica 2012.

Biological uses for light-scattering in a microplate are numerous. Two particular uses that most biologists are familiar with are drug compound solubility and bacterial growth. A current method for these assays is turbidity optical density (O.D.) measurements using absorbance. Some biologists think nephelometery is a preferable method since it has a larger dynamic range than turbidity.  

A new accessory to the NEPHELOstar Plus is the Atmospheric Control Unit (ACU). This accessory is perfect for cell growth assays where the atmospheric gases, CO2 and O2, need to be regulated. In addition to optimizing cellular growth conditions, biological conditions such as hypoxia can be induced to see what effect there is on cell growth.

Stay tuned for more information about the NEPHELOstar Plus microplate nephelometer that measures light-scattering.

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