For over 100 years the hemocytometer has been used by cell biologists to quantitate cells. It was first developed for the quantitation of blood cells but became a popular and effective tool for counting a variety of cell types, particles and even small organisms. Currently, hemocytometers, armed with improved Neubauer grids, are a mainstay of cell biology labs.
Despite its longevity and versatility, hemocytometer counting suffers from a variety of shortcomings. These shortcomings include, but are not limited to, a lack of statistical robustness at low sample concentration, poor counts due to device misuse, and subjectivity of counts among users, in addition to a time-consuming and tedious operation. In recent years automated cell counting has become an attractive alternative to manual hemocytometer-based cell counting, offering more reliable results in a fraction of the time needed for manual counting.
The attached report compares the precision of cell counts obtained with a hemocytometer to hose obtained by automated cell counting using the Bio-Rad TC10 automated cell counter. Sources of error that are inherent to the device, and those introduced by the operator are investigated. We demonstrate that automated cell counting can significantly reduce user and concentration-dependent count variance, while greatly reducing the time needed to perform counts.