Synbiosis is a division of the Synoptics Group, founded in 1985 by imaging experts from the University of Cambridge. Their world-leading technology includes a wide range of equipment for rapid colony counting and automated inhibition zone measurement, which comply with current regulations specified by accreditation bodies and regulatory agencies. The systems are used globally by thousands of microbiologists, who are successfully contributing accurate data to important projects in many of the world’s top pharmaceutical, water, food and beverage companies, as well as major government and academic research institutes.


ProtoCOL 3 is the next generation instrument for colony counting, zone measurements (inhibition and antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST), membranes, Petri-film and a range of other applications including: spiral plates, OPKA (opsonophagocytic killing assay), SBA (serum bactericidal assay), Multi-sector, Multi-well, SRD (single radial immunodiffusion) and Ames. ProtoCOL 3 will count colonies as small as 43 microns (0.043mm) or measure zones accurately to 0.1mm.

  • High throughput
    ProtoCOL 3 is typically used when large numbers of plates need to be counted or measured rapidly and accurately, perfect for high throughput applications. All counting and measuring functions are automatic with results instantly sent to the internal reporting system.
  • Colour Imagining
    The unique LED lighting in the system gives full colour images. The colour classification feature of the ProtoCOL 3 software allows for an infinite range of colour options on the same plate. A choice of sample holders is included for both light and dark backgrounds, depending on sample type.
  • Wide range of applications
    The system can be configured for a wide range of plate types. These include pour plates, spiral plates, multi-well, SBA, OPKA, Ames, inhibition zones, AST and SRD. Plates up to 150mm can be used on the standard unit, while an optional external scanning device can be added should larger plates need to be processed.
  • Extensive report generation
    One of the major benefits of an automated system is that reports can be generated within the device. ProtoCOL 3 will produce reports that can easily be exported to Excel at the touch of a button.
  • Traceability
    All the data generated has a full audit trail. All report generation is traceable and has an audit ‘lock’. Data is CFR compliant and the system can be connected to a LIMS if required.
  • Sensitivity
    ProtoCOL 3 uses a highly sensitive CCD camera with a high resolution. Colonies as small as 43 microns (0.043mm) can be easily counted and zones can be accurately measured to 0.01mm.

aCOLyte 3

  • Low Cost
    aCOLyte is a low cost entry into electronic colony counting. Results and plate images are saved to a PC enabling traceability, consistency and report generation in Excel.
  • Automated
    With the aCOLyte 3 plates can be counted rapidly. Typically plates can be counted accurately in under 1 second.
  • Image display
    Unlike any manual system the aCOLyte 3 displays the image on your computer screen with counted colonies clearly marked. The zoom function allows the user to closely view plates, confirming accurate counting.
  • Powerful algorithm
    The aCOLyte 3 uses the powerful Synbiosis algorithm for accurate counting. A colony separator automatically splits touching colonies to further improve the accuracy of the counting process. 
  • Sensitive CCD camera
    An integral CCD colour camera can be adjusted to increase the sensitivity of the detection, enabling colonies as small as 0.3mm to be imaged and counted.
  • Switchable lighting
    The LED lighting can be switched from upper to lower options, enabling counting on both light and dark media.
  • Database
    MS SQL Server Express database automatically stores all data.


  • Versatile and easy to use
  • Pressure sensor design to record each count automatically
  • Use any marker pen
  • Adjusts for a wide range of plate sizes from 60mm up to 150mm
  • Changeable background plate (black or white)
  • Back button to deduct incorrect counts
  • Non-glare illumination
  • Adjustable pressure sensitivity
  • Digital read out
  • Available with innovative software to record counts direct to a PC

Protos 3

Protos 3 colony counting and chromogenic identification

Protos 3 is a revolutionary automated colony counter and chromogenic identification system. Using its sensitive CCD camera and unique lighting coupled with powerful analysis software, Protos 3 counts colonies in seconds and automatically identifies microbial species by their colour on chromogenic plates. This provides accurate, objective and fully traceable results.

  • Fully traceable results
  • Increases throughput
  • Excellent detection performance
  • Reproducible results
  • Simple to use
  • Multiple plate reading functions

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