Use of the automated cell counter Luna-II for estimating the abundance of marine microalgae cells and their sizes in cultures

L.V. Stelmakh, I.I. Babich

The A.O. Kovalevsky Institute of Biology of Southern Seas of RAS, Sevastopol, Nachimov Av., 2


DOI: 10.33075/2220-5861-2020-3-90-95

UDC 582.26/.27.086.8


   Marine microalgae isolated in algologically pure cultures are widely used for basic and applied research. All studies related to microalgae are accompanied by an assessment of their abundance and cell size. The main method for determining these parameters is light microscopy. However, this method is quite time-consuming, therefore, at present, various kinds of automatic particle counters are increasingly being used. This significantly reduces the processing time of microalgae samples and increases the accuracy of measurements.

   The purpose of this work is to evaluate the possibility of using an automatic particle counter Luna-II to find out the abundance of cells of certain types of marine microalgae and determine their linear sizes. The performed work allowed us to show the possibility of using this counter to quickly record the abundance of culture cells of marine microalgae and determine their linear sizes with high accuracy. Reliable results can be obtained for dense cell suspensions represented by single cells with a low percentage of doublets and triplets (not more than 3%) and a high sphericity index (above 0,95). For algal cultures, the cells of which have an average and low sphericity index, reliable results can only be obtained by the abundance of cells, provided that there is a slight presence of sticking cells (doublets and triplets) in the suspension. The presented automatic counter can be used when conducting ecological and physiological studies on the cultures of certain types of marine planktonic algae, as well as in monitoring activities related to assessing the quality of the aquatic environment using microalgae as bioassays.

Keywords: microalgae cultures, cell abundance and size, automated cell counter, microscopy.

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