Optical compartmentation of vegetating algae species as a basis for their growth-specific characterization.Cytometry. 2002 Jul 01; 48(3):153-8.C
The number of microalgal strains known to date is enormous and continuously growing, and their characterization accordingly requires quick and reliable methodologies.
Asynchronously growing logarithmic (3- and 6-day cultures) and stationary (9-day cultures) phase cell populations of two algae species that are difficult to distinguish microscopically (one Chlorella sp., C. vulgaris [c-27], and another that might belong to the same genus, SA-3 algae exsymbiotic from Paramecium bursaria) were characterized by means of flow cytometry (FCM). Forward light scatter (FSC) of algae was monitored in association with their 90 degrees side light scatter (SSC) and fluorescence of endogenous chlorophyll (FL3-height).
Two-parameter FSC versus SSC and FSC versus FL3-height plots distinctly showed growth-specific compartmentation of algae into discrete cell subpopulations staying at a particular stage of the life cycle, and numbers of cells constituting these subpopulations could be quantitated. The growth pattern of C. vulgaris (c-27) differed substantially from that of SA-3 algae, particularly in the late-logarithmic (6-day) cultures. At this phase of growth, C. vulgaris (c-27) cells compartmentalized into three subpopulations, whereas SA-3 cells compartmentalized into two subpopulations. Different compartmentations of optical signals from late-logarithmic phase SA-3 algae and C. vulgaris (c-27) likely were caused by the differences in timing of the life cycle stages of these types of cells.
Growth-specific compartmentation of vegetating microalgae by FCM provides a good basis for characterization of morphologically similar algae species. Because algae are also present in symbiotic relationships with other organisms, this tool might be of potential interest for the study of symbiosis mechanisms.