Visualization and quantification of oil in single microalgal cells

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Microalgae are considered a promising source of oil for biodiesel production. This work reports an estimation method of oil content inside living microalgal cells by visualization and image processing techniques. This approach was used to analyze the time course of oil accumulation patterns in Nile Red-stained microalgal cells of Scenedesmus sp. cultivated in nitrogen-deficient medium used to induce oil accumulation in microalgal cells. Nile Red staining is a widely used technique for studying oil content of microalgal cells. The intracellular oil content was estimated by mathematically evaluating the oil volume inside the stained cell. This novel visualization approach has the potential to be used in ex vivo studies of oil content at the level of single microalgal cells. This method can also be applied to other types of oil-producing microorganisms because of its accuracy, precision, and reduction in the time and effort required for optimization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1195-1202
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Microalgae
  • Nile Red
  • Nitrogen starvation
  • Oil accumulation
  • Scenedesmus sp
  • Soxhlet extraction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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