FlowCam - Flow Imaging Microscopy Blog

New FlowCam Technical Notes: Using Preservatives with Phytoplankton Samples

Aquatic scientists often need to store natural samples for a period of time before processing them using FlowCam. There are multiple preservatives available for this purpose. Glutaraldehyde is a
popular choice of preservative because it will preserve pigment autofluorescence, and therefore allows the use of FlowCam's "Trigger Mode" to automatically distinguish cyanobacteria from other algae, and reduce images of detritus and other non fluorescing particles. Another preservative often used is Lugol's solution, which does not preserve fluorescence, but is less toxic and requires less stringent storage conditions.

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Topics: Algae Technology, Marine Research, Freshwater Research, Harmful Algal Blooms, FlowCam Technology, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater), Aquatic Research

FlowCam Used to Study Algae Cultures: Training New Users on Gran Canaria

This week FlowCam Applications Scientist, Kay Johnson, visited the Canary Islands to train a new team of FlowCam users at ITC (Instituto Tecnólogico de Canarias). ITC in Pozo Izquierdo is using a FlowCam 8400 with 488nm laser to monitor marine phytoplankton. The team was originally trained by Nicole Gill when they first purchased the FlowCam in 2019, but this year a new group of scientists from Italy and Serbia have joined their team. 

Pictured here (left to right): Kay Johnson, Flavio Guidi, Tonia Principe, Marianna Venuleo, Maca Golezalaz, Zivan Gojkovic 

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Topics: Industrial Applications, Algae Technology, Marine Research, User Spotlight, Aquaculture, Aquatic Research

Introducing the FlowCam Aquatic Image Galleries

We are happy to announce that we have made available curated galleries of our favorite aquatic images from around the world, in a variety of applications. Are you curious what your water samples would look like when analyzed on the FlowCam? Check out all of the images in our galleries, or peruse below for a sampling of what's available. This is only a small sampling of what the FlowCam is capable of; please contact us if you'd like to see more.

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Topics: Algae Technology, Marine Research, Freshwater Research, Harmful Algal Blooms, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater), Aquaculture, Aquatic Research

FlowCam selected as Algae Industry Magazine Readers' Poll Winner

The 2017 Readers' poll winners were recently announced for Algae Industry Magazine. In the category of laboratory equipment, FlowCam 8000 was awarded Bronze.  


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Topics: Algae Technology, Freshwater Research, Aquatic Research

A novel method for monitoring cell-specific lipid accumulation with FlowCam® and Nile Red stain

Continued research in biofuel technologies and algae cultivation has increased demand for techniques to monitor and quantify cell- and species-specific lipid accumulation in photosynthetic phytoplankton.

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Topics: Algae Technology, Aquatic Research

Analysis of Triacylglycerol (TAG) Algae Lipid Productivity with FlowCam®

High production rates of traicylglycerol (TAG), a lipid produced in microalgae, is a desirable trait in microalgae selection and cultivation.  TAG is used in a variety of applications ranging from biodiesel production to omega-3 fatty acid supplements.  

In a study published in Biotechnology for Biofuels (Cabanelas et al., 2016), Chlorococcum littorale, a strain of microalgae with increased triacylglycerol (TAG) productivity, was identified and analyzed. The cellular properties of the strain were imaged, favorable sub-populations were isolated, and confirmed for increased TAG productivity.

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Topics: Algae Technology, Aquatic Research

Algae Viability Analysis with FlowCam®: Effect of Continuous Flow Electrocoagulation Flocculation

Large-scale, commercialized microalgae cultivation and harvesting processes which are used to produce algae-based biofuels are resource intensive.

  1. Microalgae are grown in highly-diluted solutions;
  2. High volumes of water are required;
  3. Processes to dewater algae during harvest consume a lot of energy.

Centrifugation, chemical coagulation, and electrocoagulation flocculation (ECF) using batch reactors are a few examples of existing harvest processes.  These methods require high energy input, large amounts of chemicals, and/or additional infrastructure such as settling tanks.

Right: From the Fluid Imaging Technologies lab- Nannochloropsis at 20x 

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Topics: Algae Technology, Aquatic Research

Quantification and Morphological Analysis of Algae Using Dynamic Imaging Particle Analysis

Coral Jane Fung Shek, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, explored the efficacy and accurary of using dynamic imaging particle analysis, also knowns as imaging flow microscopy, for conducting quantitative morphological analysis of algae, and the accuracy of this method for color sensitivity and algal cell counting. 

 From the Fluid Imaging Technologies Lab: Chlorella vulgaris captured by the FlowCam at 20X

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Topics: Algae Technology, Marine Research, Freshwater Research, FlowCam Technology, User Spotlight, Aquatic Research

Early Detection of Predatory Grazers in Algae Cultures

Research suggests that microalgal-based biofuels offer a promising alternative to fossil fuels, providing environmental benefits and rapid production rates that could match the modern energy consumption of fossil fuels. However, large-scale algae cultivation, which is utilized in algae-based biofuel production, is susceptible to opportunistic algal crop predators, such as rotifers, which can quickly destroy a large algae population.  

Thus, there is a need to develop a method of early detection and quantification of these potential predatory grazers in algal cultures. 

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Topics: Algae Technology, Aquatic Research

Rapid Algae Characterization Using Flow Imaging Microscopy

Algae offers the potential to serve as attractive, renewable sources for fuel, feeds, and other products such as plastics, chemical feed stocks, lubricants and fertilizers.  For this reason, interest in algae technology research continues to grow.  Algae are appealing as a potential source for these products for a number of reasons: they grow fast in relatively simple environments; have high yields per area needed to grow them; absorb carbon dioxide during growth while releasing oxygen; and, unlike some other biomass sources, do not compete with agriculture because they can be grown in areas not used for normal agricultural purposes.

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Topics: Algae Technology, FlowCam Technology, Aquatic Research