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Sorcerer Colony Counter

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Sorcerer colony counter
  • Single button press triggers instant count
  • Counts Pour, Spread and Spiral plates; Filters & 3M Petrifilm
  • Advanced colony separation & classification techniques
  • Live data transfer to MS Excel, MS Access and Oracle
  • Comprehensive macro builder offers maximum flexibility
  • Small footprint Petri-viewer offers a range of illumination options
  • Cool white light ensures optimum contrast between colonies and substrate
  • Designed to comply with GLP & FDA 21 CFR Part 11
  • Audit Trail data stored as files or sent direct to Oracle databases


Sorcerer is the latest in a highly successful series of automatic colony counters from Perceptive Instruments. It combines sophisticated image processing and analysis with an innovative Petri-viewer to provide fast, accurate counts of bacterial & mammalian colonies for a wide range of applications.

With full audit trails, GLP reasons required and multiple access levels, Sorcerer is designed to be fully compliant with Good Laboratory Practice and FDA 21 CFR Part 11 Final Rule on Electronic Records and Electronic Signature.

The small footprint Petri-viewer utilizes incident, dark-field and transmitted illumination for different types of nutrient agars and other growth media. The use of very bright, cool white light ensures excellent contrast between colonies and substrate. A high resolution CCD camera relays a live image of the sample to the computer screen.

Sorcerer is ideal for laboratories engaged in drug development & production, food & milk testing, environmental monitoring and public health.

Functionality & Ease of Use

In routine use, the user selects the appropriate configuration that is pre- configured for their application, enters text agaiSorcerer colony counternst headings and places the first sample in the Petri-viewer. A single button press triggers the measurement sequence as defined by a customizable macro. Typically, this macro would include commands to automatically separate overlapping colonies, highlight detected colonies in color and compute the count. It is also possible to include commands to send all measurement data to a secure database, or to eliminate objects such as debris based upon their size, shape and intensity.

Sorcerer has facilities to overcome the often encountered problems caused by cloudy media, irregularly shaped growths and unevenly poured plates. A range of image editing functions allow the user to interactively modify the image when required e.g. to remove contaminating particles. Use of the Image Editor is fully audited, and can be disabled like any other menu command by Supervisor level users.

Sorcerer lets the laboratory supervisor create different configurations optimized for each application, for example TVC, Coliform, Ames etc. Each configuration includes system settings such as type of illumination, detection sensitivity and prompts for sample codes and dilution factors.

The Lock Controls dialog gives supervisors the ability to deny Users access to different system functions, in order that such functions remain unchanged whilst in routine use. It is also possible to activate prompts for GLP reasons required when deleting a measurement, or exiting without saving data etc. for compliance with Good Laboratory Practice.

Measurements & Results

Results are shown on screen after each measurement and can be sent instantly to a Microsoft Excel workbook via OLE. It is even possible to open an Excel workbook containing sample codes, dilution factors etc. and instruct Sorcerer to carry Sorcerer colony counterout measurements from within Excel itself.

Data can also be transferred directly to Microsoft Access and Oracle database tables for increased data security or for further processing and import into Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS).

Sorcerer has comprehensive software for analysis of individual objects thereby allowing colonies to be classified according to their size. Size classification tables are easily defined and can include up to 50 classes in any progression and on any measurement parameter such as diameter or area.

Comprehensive support is available for specific data processing requirements such as integration with barcode readers, LIMS and other third party software.

Meeting Regulatory Requirements

The Sorcerer colony counter is designed to conform to Good Laboratory Practice and is fully compliant with the FDA 21 CFR Part 11 Final rule on electronic records and electronic signature. Perceptive Instruments has attained ISO 9001:2000 and TickIT approval for its Quality Management System from a UKAS accredited certification body.

The colony counter program includes highly detailed encoded audit trail files which automatically record all system activity including settings, measurement data and edits. All audit data can also be sent to Access or Oracle databases for additional security.

The system has User, Advanced User and Supervisor levels of access controlled by a simple user administration interface. An optional advanced user administration program is available for use with Access or Oracle databases.

Sorcerer Colony Counter Technical Specification


Live CCD video image with 256 gray levels. High resolution option available. Software controlled fixed focus lens and lighting. Incident, Transmitted & Dark-field illumination.

Compact Dimensions: 220 mm x 270 mm x 520 mm

Colony Resolving Power

Better than 0.15 mm diameter on 90 mm plates. High resolution option offers better than 0.08 mm diameter.

Count Speed

0-1 seconds per plate.

System Resolution

Standard system: 256 gray levels at 768x576 pixels resolution.
High resolution system: 256 gray levels at 1280x1030 pixels resolution.

Video Invert

Selectable for colonies darker or lighter than substrate.

Image Display

Live or frozen image of sample on screen with optional color coding of detected colonies. Point & Click facility to display parameters of individual colonies. Each separated colony flagged for count. High resolution pan and zoom window.

Detection Modes

Automatic, straight & matrix detection thresholds to overcome variations in agar depth, opacity and meniscus effects.

Measurement Frames

Circular & rectangular, variable in size & position. User-drawn irregular shaped frame. Programmable scanning frame for multi-point or micro-titre plate applications.

Image Processing

Automatic pre-processing of the image prior to measurement. Includes sharpen, remove, separate, erode, dilate & hole fill.

Image Editing

User interaction with the image to exclude or include specific regions of the sample to avoid interference from debris or labels. Cut, join, include, exclude, dilate, erode & fill.


A range of parameters can be used singly or in Boolean combinations to automatically discriminate between colonies or debris provided they differ in size, shape or intensity. They include circularity, axial ratio, area, diameter, longest dimension and gray level.

Colony Size Classification

Classification by any one of 12 parameters including area, diameter, intensity. Unlimited number of size tables with up to 50 classes in any progression.

Image Capture

Images can be saved and retrieved as Windows Bitmap files. Auto image save & save with prompt for each measurement.

Macro Builder

Simple-to-use editor to create measurement macros for specific tasks. Includes single step replay to assist development. No programming skills required.

Data Handling

Colony count/size data transferred directly to Microsoft Excel workbook. Highly configurable results tables based on Excel for Study details, dilution factors, sample codes, count/plate, count/ml, date, time, user, comments etc.

Measurements can be made either from Sorcerer or Excel. Direct transfer of data to Microsoft Access and Oracle database tables

Support for third party data processing applications e.g. spreadsheets, databases, LIMS, Ames data programs Data transfer via OLE or Dynamic Link Libraries

Bar code readers can be used to enter sample details


Multiple configurations can be saved for different applications e.g. Ames, TVC, Inhibition zones, Spiral plates, Pour plates

Audit Trails

Encoded audit trail files automatically record all system activity including settings, measurement data and edits. Audit data can also be sent direct to Oracle databases.

Electronic Records & Signatures

Configurable interface to a database of authorized users. Optional User Administration program available for use with Access or Oracle for compliance with the FDA 21 CFR Part 11 Final Rule on Electronic Record & Electronic Signature.

User Levels

Supervisor, Advanced User & User levels.

User Access Rights

Supervisors may lock any of the menus, or selected options within them, to deny Users & Advanced Users access to particular functions.

Minimum Specification

PC with minimum 32 MB Ram, true color display at 1024x768 pixels resolution with Microsoft Windows 98 or later. Requires one free PCI expansion slot for image card.

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