Flow Imaging Microscopy Blog

Baker Hughes Study Demonstrates a New, Quick Method for Produced Water Analysis

A study by Baker Hughes demonstrates that the FlowCam® imaging particle analysis technology is a more informative method than spectrophotometry to evaluate the demulsification of produced water. Produced water generated during oil extraction is held in skim tanks where it is treated with water clarifiers or demulsifiers. Reverse emulsion breakers (REBs) coalesce the oil into larger molecules to be skimmed, or removed, from the produced water. The efficacy of REBs and other water clarifiers on produced water is important because oil extraction companies must meet water quality environmental regulations before releasing produced water back into the environment, or they require a low oil content if the water is to be reused in the extraction process. 

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Topics: User Spotlight, FlowCam Technology, Industrial Applications

Biotherapeutic Reformulation Achieved Through Extended Particle Analysis

Proteinaceous particles in parenteral drugs pose an immunogenic risk. These formulations are therefore rigorously characterized for optimal conformational and colloidal stability of the drug molecule. As such, they undergo thorough analysis of biophysical descriptors and extended particle characterization to ensure a safe and stable product is delivered to market with a shelf life of about two years. In this post, we summarize a recent paper by Mattison et al. (2018) published in BioProcess International on how they successfully reformulated biotherapeutics by using quantitative stability predictors and descriptors. 

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Topics: Biopharmaceutical Research, Protein Therapeutics, User Spotlight

Fooled copepods ingest dimethyl sulfide-infused microplastics

December 2018 — Can microplastics be mistaken for algae? A recent study by the University of Plymouth and the Plymouth Marine Laboratory demonstrated that nylon microfibers can acquire dimethyl sulfide (DMS), a compound produced by algae, when environmentally exposed to the compound. The study also showed that Calanus helgolandicus, a chemosensing copepod that uses DMS to locate algae, their normal food source, more readily ingested microplastic fibers infused with DMS (Fig. 1).  The FlowCam was used to enumerate the microplastic fibers and evaluate microplastic fiber uptake during the experiment. 

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Topics: Aquatic Research, User Spotlight, Marine Research

FlowCam for the Continuous Improvement of Manufacturing Process: A Case Study

A client in the biopharmaceutical market recently learned how the FlowCam is perfectly suited to visualize translucent plastic particles that may enter into their production process. They were frustrated with traditional microscopy that was not effective at visualizing microparticles. They turned to the FlowCam to troubleshoot their manufacturing process and were able to compare old and new data sets allowing for continuous improvement.

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Topics: User Spotlight, Industrial Applications, Biopharmaceutical Research

New High-Throughput Method for Elastin-like Polymer (ELP) Coacervate Analysis

December 2018 — A recent study by researchers from the University of New England and University of New Hampshire has demonstrated that flow imaging microscopy is an accurate, more efficient, and more informative method of elastin-like polymer (ELP) coacervate analysis than standard methods. ELP coacervates are a class of molecules with promising applications in drug delivery vehicles, tissue engineering, environmental remediation, and more. ELP coacervate architecture is stimuli-responsive and highly tunable, making them ideal for the above-mentioned applications.  


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Topics: Nanoparticles, User Spotlight, Industrial Applications, Biopharmaceutical Research

Are Blue Mussels the New Microplastic Fiber Sink? A study by Bigelow Lab

December 2018 — Microplastics are an ubiquitous concern for the world's oceans. Increasing demand for consumer plastics has resulted in an estimated 4.8 to 15.11 million metric tons of plastics entering the oceans every year1,2. These macroplastics degrade into microplastics, or plastic fragments <5 mm in diameter, which can range in morphology from rigid pieces to amorphous fibers. 

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Topics: Aquatic Research, Marine Research, User Spotlight

New Method for Meiobenthos Analysis Using FlowCam

Researchers from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, and Am-Lab Inc. developed a methodology to use the FlowCam® for analysis of sediment-inhabiting meiobenthos.  

Meiobenthos are small, benthic invertebrates often used as indicators of anthropogenic influence and other natural disturbances. They play a primary role in sediment nutrient cycling and stability in benthic ecosystems. 

Meiobenthos imaged by the FlowCam. Organic matter was stained with Rose Bengal to easily differentiate meiobenthos from inorganic particulates, such as sediment. Imaged organisms are labeled as follows: a) Nematoda; b) Copepoda; c) Nauplius larvae; d) Kinorhyncha; e) Foraminifera. Credit: Kitahashi et al. (2018). 

Optical microscopy, which is labor-intensive and time-consuming, is often the primary technology utilized for analysis of meiobenthos. In this study, Kitahashi et al. developed a method to use the FlowCam and VisualSpreadsheet® for analysis of these small, benthic invertebrates.

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Topics: Freshwater Research, Marine Research, User Spotlight, Aquatic Research

New Method for Cell Counting Microcystis Colonies Using Image Processing Method

October 2018 — Environmental Engineering Research published a paper presenting a new method for cell counting Microcystis colonies using the FlowCam.  Researchers from Korea Water Resources Corporation, University of Central Florida, and Kyungbook National University developed a three-dimensional image processing method using an algorithm to count colonial Microcystis cells.    

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Topics: Aquatic Research, User Spotlight, Harmful Algal Blooms, Freshwater Research, FlowCam Technology

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

Technological Advances Push Protein and Particulate Research Further: Insights from the 2018 Workshop on Protein Aggregation and Immunogenicity

KentPetersonCEOFluidImagingTechnologiesKent Peterson is the CEO of Fluid Imaging Technologies.

Every summer, around 160 researchers converge at the Workshop on Protein Aggregation and Immunogenicity hosted in Breckenridge, Colorado by the University of Colorado Center for Pharmaceutical Technology and the AAPS Focus Group on Protein Aggregation and Immunogenicity. 

At the Workshop, scientists studying the behavior, formation, and effects of protein aggregates and other subvisible particles in therapeutic formulations gather to present their research and discuss industry issues.

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Topics: Biopharmaceutical Research, User Spotlight, FlowCam Technology, Protein Therapeutics, News and Events