Installed in-line or for use in the lab, the FlowCAM takes hi-resolution, full color digital images of microorganisms within the range of 2um and 2mm – such as stalked ciliates and filamentous bacteria.
In the following example, the FlowCAM was used for the semiautonomous identification and enumeration of target species, in samples of algae monocultures contaminated with parasites:
Carney and Lane, 2014
Parasites in algae mass culture
Parasites have been implicated in the demise of algal blooms. Because individual mass culture systems often tend to be unialgal and a select few algal species are in wide scale application, there is an increased potential for parasites to have a devastating effect on commercial scale monoculture. As commercial algal production continues to expand with a widening variety of applications, including biofuel, food and pharmaceuticals, the parasites associated with algae will become of greater interest and potential economic impact. A number of important algal parasites have been identiﬁed in algal mass culture systems in the last few years and this number is sure to grow as the number of commercial algae ventures increases.Routine monitoring and early detection of pest species is a clear requirement for large-scale cultivation. Daily microscopic analysis is a standard practice at many production facilities. However, this process is labor intensive and requires a certain degree of expertise. Alternative parasite detection methods based on molecular assays such as PCR will likely ﬁnd application in the production of high value products but do require significant capital outlay and may be too expensive for large-scale operations.