Flow Imaging Microscopy Blog

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

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

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, Harmful Algal Blooms, Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater), News and Events

Monitoring for Taste & Odor Algae at Newport News Waterworks

I recently had the opportunity to speak with FlowCam users at Newport News Waterworks in the City of Newport News, Virginia.  Serving over 400,000 people the waterworks owns and operates 5 reservoirs and more than 12,000 acres of watershed property.

Sherry Williams is the Water Quality Control Supervisor, and Anna-Maria Miller is the Laboratory Analyst who uses the FlowCam regularly.  They originally bought their FlowCam in 2011 to help monitor for taste and odor algae, as well as filter clogging algae.  Recently they took advantage of a trade-in/upgrade option and are soon getting a new FlowCam Cyano to monitor for harmful cyanobacteria. 


Anabaenopsis, one type of cyanobacteria responsible for the blooms in Newport News resevoirs. PC: Newport News Waterworks

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

Grit Characterization Analysis for Wastewater Treatment Plants

Incorporating grit characterization analysis into your wastewater treatment plant design is critical for optimal grit removal. Grit threatens effective treatment through abrasion and accumulation; poor grit removal leads to process inefficiencies and increases electricity costs.
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Topics: Municipal Water (Drinking/Wastewater), Aquatic Research

Fluid Imaging Technologies Announces FlowCam® Cyano for Early Detection and Monitoring of Cyanobacteria

SCARBOROUGH, Maine – November 12, 2015 – Laboratory instrumentation manufacturer Fluid Imaging Technologies, Scarborough, Maine is pleased to introduce FlowCam® Cyano for the early detection of harmful cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) in fresh bodies of water. Cyanobacteria can produce toxins which can be harmful, even fatal, to humans and animals when large blooms occur. Based on proven dynamic imaging particle analysis (DIPA) technology, the new patent-pending FlowCam Cyano represents the next-generation FlowCam platform. 

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

Particle characterization helps deliver uniform carbon nanotube products to customers

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are low density, flexible, electrically conductive materials, with individual tubes having relatively high tensile strength. Nanocomp Technologies, Inc. produces carbon nanotubes in the form of sheets, tapes, powders, dispersions, and yarns. Their products are used for aerospace, aviation, armor, and flame-resistant applications.
Nanocomp’s CNTs have tremendous aspect ratios; thousands of times greater than other commercially available carbon nanotubes. 

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

Optimizing Anaerobic Digestion at Wastewater Treatment Plants

A wastewater treatment plant in Augusta, Georgia used a dynamic imaging particle analysis system to monitor the condition and presence of methanogens in their anaerobic digestion process to find a potential correlation with methane production.  

The goal? To find a way to optimize anaerobic sludge digestion and ultimately improve anaerobic digester performance in wastewater treatment plants.

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

The importance of grit particle analysis for wastewater treatment

Advanced Grit Management, an article by Marcia Sherony of Hydro International’s Wastewater Division in June's issue of WaterWorld magazine talks about the harmful effects of grit and the importance of particle analysis in wastewater treatment plants. We like this article for a couple of reasons. 

First, it’s an important topic if your job (or in this case, our customer’s job) is to detect, characterize, and quantify grit particulate at a wastewater treatment plant. Particle size is an important criteria, but characteristics like shape and specific gravity can also affect grit particle settling velocity. 

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