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Environmental Engineering Research 2019;24(3): 397-403. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4491/eer.2018.266
A novel method for cell counting of Microcystis colonies in water resources using a digital imaging flow cytometer and microscope
Jungsu Park1, Yongje Kim2, Minjae Kim3, and Woo Hyoung Lee2 
1Water Quality Research Center, Korea Water Resources Corporation, Daejeon 34350, Republic of Korea
2Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering, University of Central Florida, 12800 Pegasus Dr., Suite 211, Orlando, Florida 32816-2450, USA
3School of Life Science, Kyungbook National University, Daegu 41566, Republic of Korea
Corresponding Author: Woo Hyoung Lee ,Tel: +1-407-823-5304 , Fax: +1-407-823-3315, Email: woohyoung.lee@ucf.edu
Received: July 31, 2018;  Accepted: September 30, 2018.
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Microcystis sp. is one of the most common harmful cyanobacteria that release toxic substances. Counting algal cells is often used for effective control of harmful algal blooms. However, Microcystis sp. is commonly observed as a colony, so counting individual cells is challenging, as it requires significant time and labor. It is urgent to develop an accurate, simple, and rapid method for counting algal cells for regulatory purposes, estimating the status of blooms, and practicing proper management of water resources. The flow cytometer and microscope (FlowCAM), which is a dynamic imaging particle analyzer, can provide a promising alternative for rapid and simple cell counting. However, there is no accurate method for counting individual cells within a Microcystis colony. Furthermore, cell counting based on two-dimensional images may yield inaccurate results and underestimate the number of algal cells in a colony. In this study, a three-dimensional cell counting approach using a novel model algorithm was developed for counting individual cells in a Microcystis colony using a FlowCAM. The developed model algorithm showed satisfactory performance for Microcystis sp. cell counting in water samples collected from two rivers, and can be used for algal management in fresh water systems.
Keywords: Algae | Algal cell counting | FlowCAM | Harmful algal bloom | Microcystis
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