Fluid Imaging Technologies www.fluidimaging.com and ICM Inc. www.icminc.com recently announced a joint development agreement for a new method to obtain yeast viability measurements during the ethanol fermentation process. The method uses Fluid Imagings FlowCAM® to rapidly acquire digital images of yeast cells, and automatically characterize each cell as being live, dead or budding. These yeast cell counts are a primary indicator of the status and health of the ethanol fermentation process. Currently, most yeast cell counts are done manually by viewing the cells under a microscope with a hemocytometer. According to Fluid Imaging and ICM, the manual method can only quantify a very small number of cells and is inherently prone to operator interpretation, making the results vary by as much as 25 percent. The companies believe their new method eliminates the time- and labor-intensive microscopy process along with its potential for human error in favor of a fast, easy approach that captures far more data that is significantly more accurate without requiring highly trained operators. With this reliable data, operators and laboratory technicians can more accurately determine the optimal process conditions required to ensure product quality and optimize efficiency.