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Probing the metabolic heterogeneity of live Euglena gracilis with stimulated Raman scattering microscopy


Understanding metabolism in live microalgae is crucial for efficient biomaterial engineering, but conventional methods fail to evaluate heterogeneous populations of motile microalgae due to the labelling requirements and limited imaging speeds. Here, we demonstrate label-free video-rate metabolite imaging of live Euglena gracilis and statistical analysis of intracellular metabolite distributions under different culture conditions. Our approach provides further insights into understanding microalgal heterogeneity, optimizing culture methods and screening mutant microalgae.

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Figure 1: Label-free video-rate metabolite imaging of E. gracilis with a stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscope.
Figure 2: Statistical analysis of live E. gracilis cells under different culture conditions.


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This work was funded mainly by the ImPACT Program of the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (Cabinet Office, Government of Japan) and partly by Advanced Photon Science Alliance and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) KAKENHI (grant no. 25702026). Y.S. and K.G. are supported by JSPS and partly by Burroughs Wellcome Fund, respectively.

Author information




Y.W. and Y.S. performed the experiments. O.I., A.N. and T.I. prepared the samples. Y.W., Y.S., M.H., R.D., M.S., N.T., T.S. and H.W. performed the data analysis. Y.W., Y.S., K.G. and Y.O. wrote the manuscript. K.G. conceived the concept. K.S., K.G. and Y.O. supervised the work.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Keisuke Goda or Yasuyuki Ozeki.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary information

Supplementary Discussion, Supplementary References, Supplementary Figures 1–8, Legends for Supplementary Videos 1 and 2. (PDF 1993 kb)

Supplementary Video 1

Comparison in SRS imaging of motile E. gracilis in motion between frame rates of 27 fps (top) and 6.75 fps (bottom). (AVI 3246 kb)

Supplementary Video 1

3D metabolite imaging of E. gracilis. (MOV 2134 kb)

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Wakisaka, Y., Suzuki, Y., Iwata, O. et al. Probing the metabolic heterogeneity of live Euglena gracilis with stimulated Raman scattering microscopy. Nat Microbiol 1, 16124 (2016).

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