FlowCam - Flow Imaging Microscopy Blog

Top Research Studies Comparing the FlowCam to Light Microscopy

Most organizations who are considering the purchase of a FlowCam ask themselves this question: how does the FlowCam compare to traditional light microscopy? They know that using a FlowCam is faster than using a microscope, and it's possible to produce larger amounts of data, but is the FlowCam as accurate?

Can it correctly calculate biomass, biovolume, and identify organisms? We don't want you to take our word for it, so we have gathered a selection of published studies that explore this very question. Please enjoy these summaries, and feel free to contact us for access to the full papers.

Top Studies Comparing FlowCam to Light Microscopy

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Topics: Marine Research, Harmful Algal Blooms, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater), User Spotlight, Aquatic Research

The FlowCam Cyano for automated analysis of algae and cyanobacteria

Based on proven FlowCam® technology, the FlowCam Cyano automatically identifies cyanobacteria from other algae and particles in aquatic samples. Using a patent-pending combination of excitation wavelength, phycocyanin fluorescence measurement, and image recognition software, the system automates what was previously done using manual microscopy. After differentiating the cyanobacteria from the other algae in the sample, VisualSpreadsheet and Advanced Classifier software can be used to further characterize specific types of algae found in the sample using 40+ physical parameters. 

Keep reading to view our new video and see the inner workings of the FlowCam Cyano, as well as a detailed demonstration of VisualSpreadsheet's automated classification process.

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

Answering Your FAQs about Analyzing Microcystis with the FlowCam

FlowCam customers frequently ask us how to optimize analysis of Microcystis, a globally pervasive colonial cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) which is seen in source water systems and recreational lakes. The colonies can range in size from a few microns up to several thousand microns in diameter. Customers are concerned about losing part of the sample or not being able to capture a quality image due to the colony’s size and density. Dense colonies superimpose cells in the image, making it easy to underestimate cell counts, while large colonies can make it challenging to determine what objective is best used to image the sample.

Question:  What protocol does Fluid Imaging recommend to analyze colonies and scums of Microcystis?

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

Educating the Drinking Water Community: Workshops at the AWWA Water Quality and Technology Conference

This year's AWWA Water Quality and Technology Conference in Dallas, Texas, kicked off with a pre-conference workshop focused on tracking, identifying, and predicting treatments for algae and cyanobacteria blooms. Despite the fact that the workshop was on a Sunday (and an hour from the conference location in Dallas), there was a fantastic turnout from drinking water utilities across the country and beyond.

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Topics: News and Events, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater)

Detecting Contaminates in Stormwater Runoff with Hydro International

Contaminates in stormwater runoff that feed into our waterways are a leading cause of environmental pollution. Hydro International (a UK company with a local facility just down the road from Fluid Imaging in Portland, Maine) analyzes the content of stormwater and wastewater in order to provide solutions that
prevent contamination utilizing machinery, cleansers, and filters.

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Topics: Industrial Applications, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater), User Spotlight

Top 6 FlowCam Studies on Cyanobacteria

Our ability to predict and prevent harmful algal blooms is directly related to our ability to study and understand cyanobacteria.  Numerous studies have used the FlowCam to rapidly enumerate, image, and aid in the identification of harmful algae present in water samples to better track, trend and predict blooms. We've collected our favorite studies on cyanobacteria into one document that features synopses of the following papers:

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Topics: Harmful Algal Blooms, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater), Aquatic Research

FlowCam Part of Integrated Approach to Eliminate Taste and Odor Events in Wichita Falls, TX

March 2019 — Harmful algal bloom (HAB) season is fast approaching. The City of Wichita Falls, Texas, however, has developed an integrated approach to monitor HABs that has prevented taste and odor events for the past two years.  Featured in the December 2018 issue of OpFlow, and now in the Jan/Feb 2019 issue of Texas H2O, the City of Wichita Falls shares its integrated approach to answer the following questions: 

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Topics: Harmful Algal Blooms, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater), User Spotlight

A Blueprint to Monitor Toxin-Producing Cyanobacteria With the FlowCam

Ensure Safe Drinking Water

Climate conditions are conducive to both harmful algae blooms (HABs) as well as taste and odor events in drinking water with increasing frequency and intensity. As a result, EPA regulations are moving toward requiring cyanobacteria monitoring. Proactive drinking water agencies are seeking a streamlined approach to monitor cyanobacteria and nuisance algae. Unfortunately, there is no single method that answers all the fundamental questions needed to make treatment decisions and ensure a safe water supply:

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Topics: Freshwater Research, News and Events, Harmful Algal Blooms, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater)

Study by University of Alberta finds the FlowCam is a reliable and faster alternative to manual microscopy for cyanobacterial bloom monitoring

Scientists at the University of Alberta, Alberta Health, and University of Calgary compared the efficacy of using the FlowCam to traditional light microscopy for rapid cyanobacteria quantification and high resolution taxonomic data. Traditional light microscopy, while it provides the highest level of detail and is the ideal method for taxonomic identification, is time-consuming. The rate of quantifying and reporting cyanobacterial abundance must match the rate of cyanobacterial production in order to assess the present risk to human and ecological health. 

Anabaena, a common culprit of cyanobacterial blooms, as imaged by the FlowCam at 10X. 

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Topics: Freshwater Research, Harmful Algal Blooms, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater), User Spotlight, Aquatic Research

Hands-on FlowCam Workshop in Germany October 1st 2018

We are excited to announce that we will be co-hosting a FlowCam workshop with our European partners Anasysta.  This exclusive introductory workshop on the FlowCam Cyano and the FlowCam 8000 series will be hosted at the University of Konstanz and is scheduled for October 1st, 2018 from 9am - 4pm.

The FlowCam Cyano utilizes a red laser to differentiate cyanobacteria from other algae and detritus in aquatic samples. After capturing digital images of the algae, the FlowCam’s software, VisualSpreadsheet, can be used to further characterize the specific types of all algae found in the sample.

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Topics: Freshwater Research, News and Events, Harmful Algal Blooms, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater)