Hybrid Approach to Colony-Forming Unit Counting Problem Using Multi-Loss U-Net Reformulation
Sensors 2023
Vilens Jumutcs, Artjoms Supoņenkovs, Andrejs Bondarenko, Dmitrijs Bļizņuks, Alexey Lihachev

Colony-Forming Unit (CFU) counting is a complex problem without a universal solution in biomedical and food safety domains. A multitude of sophisticated heuristics and segmentation-driven approaches have been proposed by researchers. However, U-Net remains the most frequently cited and used deep learning method in these domains. The latter approach provides a segmentation output map and requires an additional counting procedure to calculate unique segmented regions and detect microbial colonies. However, due to pixel-based targets, it tends to generate irrelevant artifacts or errant pixels, leading to inaccurate and mixed post-processing results. In response to these challenges, this paper proposes a novel hybrid counting approach, incorporating a multi-loss U-Net reformulation and a post-processing Petri dish localization algorithm. Firstly, a unique innovation lies in the multi-loss U-Net reformulation. An additional loss term is introduced in the bottleneck U-Net layer, focusing on the delivery of an auxiliary signal that indicates where to look for distinct CFUs. Secondly, the novel localization algorithm automatically incorporates an agar plate and its bezel into the CFU counting techniques. Finally, the proposition is further enhanced by the integration of a fully automated solution, which comprises a specially designed uniform Petri dish illumination system and a counting web application. The latter application directly receives images from the camera, processes them, and sends the segmentation results to the user. This feature provides an opportunity to correct the CFU counts, offering a feedback loop that contributes to the continued development of the deep learning model. Through extensive experimentation, the authors of this paper have found that all probed multi-loss U-Net architectures incorporated into the proposed hybrid approach consistently outperformed their single-loss counterparts, as well as other comparable models such as self-normalized density maps and YOLOv6, by at least 1% to 3% in mean absolute and symmetric mean absolute percentage errors. Further significant improvements were also reported through the means of the novel localization algorithm. This reaffirms the effectiveness of the proposed hybrid solution in addressing contemporary challenges of precise in vitro CFU counting.

Atslēgas vārdi
colony-forming unit; deep learning; segmentation; U-Net

Jumutcs, V., Supoņenkovs, A., Bondarenko, A., Bļizņuks, D., Lihachev, A. Hybrid Approach to Colony-Forming Unit Counting Problem Using Multi-Loss U-Net Reformulation. Sensors, 2023, Vol. 23, No. 19, Article number 8337. e-ISSN 1424-8220. Available from: doi:10.3390/s23198337

Publikācijas valoda
English (en)
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