Segmentation and tracking individual pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria in dense populations of motile cells

Pascal Vallotton, Changming Sun, Dadong Wang, Lynne Turnbull, Cynthia Whitchurch, Prabhakar Ranganathan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The dynamics of individual bacteria underlies the manifestation of complex multicellular behaviours such as biofilm development and colony expansion. High resolution movies of expanding bacterial colonies reveal intriguing patterns of cell motions. A quantitative understanding of the observed behaviour in relation to the bacteria's own motile apparatus and to hydrodynamic forces requires that bacteria be identified and tracked over time. This represents a demanding undertaking as their size is close to the diffraction limit; they are very close to each other; and a typical image may contain over a thousand cells. Here, we describe the approach that we have developed to segment individual bacteria and track them in high resolution phase contrast microscopy movies. We report that over 99% of non-overlapping bacteria could be segmented correctly using mathematical morphology, and we present preliminary results that exploit this new capability.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2009 24th International Conference Image and Vision Computing New Zealand, IVCNZ 2009 - Conference Proceedings
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9781424446988
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventImage and Vision Computing New Zealand (IVCNZ) 2009 - Wellington, New Zealand
Duration: 23 Nov 200925 Nov 2009
Conference number: 24th (Proceedings)


ConferenceImage and Vision Computing New Zealand (IVCNZ) 2009
Abbreviated titleIVCNZ 2009
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
Internet address


  • Agar plate
  • Bacteria
  • Cell motility
  • Image analysis
  • Image segmentation
  • Tracking
  • Twitching motility

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