Measuring growth rate in high-throughput growth phenotyping

Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2011 Feb;22(1):94-102. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2010.10.013. Epub 2010 Nov 20.


Growth rate is an important variable and parameter in biology with a central role in evolutionary, functional genomics, and systems biology studies. In this review the pros and cons of the different technologies presently available for high-throughput measurements of growth rate are discussed. Growth rate can be measured in liquid microcultivation of individual strains, in competition between strains, as growing colonies on agar, as division of individual cells, and estimated from molecular reporters. Irrespective of methodology, statistical issues such as spatial biases and batch effects are crucial to investigate and correct for to ensure low false discovery rates. The rather low correlations between studies indicate that cross-laboratory comparison and standardization are pressing issue to assure high-quality and comparable growth-rate data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts
  • Cell Count / methods*
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Colony Count, Microbial / methods*
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays / methods
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays / standards
  • Mathematical Computing*
  • Microbiological Phenomena
  • Molecular Probes / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Systems Biology


  • Molecular Probes