Bioluminescent algae Noctiluca scintillans analysed by the CytoSense

29.06.2020  by  Tina Silovic

Image 1: Image of Noctiluca scintillans measured by CytoSense

Image 2: Corresponding pulse shape of Noctiluca scintillans measured by CytoSense

Bioluminescence* occurs widely among animals, especially in the open sea, but the ones known as sparkling phosphorescence in a surface sea layer are most often caused by plankton. One example of bioluminescent plankton is the dinoflagellate Noctiluca scintillans
Their blooms are common for warmer areas, but sometimes they occur in Dutch coastal waters as well. Earlier this month, along the Dutch coast, there were many photographed reports of this visually spectacular effect (e.g. Katwijk, Scheveningen, Duindorp).
Noctiluca scintillans).
Altogether, Noctiluca bloom presented a good opportunity to show how CytoSense can analyse much bigger cells than other instruments, so we collected a sample of sea water from the Kijkduin beach and analysed it with the CytoSense.

This demonstrates that the CytoSense analyses anything from submicron to 0.8 millimeter diameter and 2mm length, including Noctiluca. No filtration or other fractionation of samples is required.  All cell sizes are measured with the CytoSense without hardware changes like flow-cell swapping or the like.
The analysis was done with a standard CytoSense, while in order to image larger organisms a camera sensor of 2048x2592 pixels of 4.8μm or 614 x 778 μm in the object plane can be mounted.  Additionally, a special CytoSense version with larger fluidics and flow cell orifice (1.5mm) is also available upon request. Contact us at for more information!

**An algal bloom is a rapid increase or accumulation in the population of algae in water systems