Monitoring Photosynthetic Activity in Microalgal Cells by Raman Spectroscopy with Deuterium Oxide as a Tracking Probe

Yusuke Yonamine, Yuta Suzuki, Takuro Ito, Yoshiko Miura, Keisuke Goda, Yasuyuki Ozeki, Yu Hoshino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Microalgae offer great potential for the production of biofuel, but high photosynthetic activity is demanded for the practical realisation of microalgal biofuels. To this end, it is essential to evaluate the photosynthetic activity of single microalgal cells in a heterogeneous population. In this study, we present a method to monitor the photosynthetic activity of microalgae (in particular Euglena gracilis, a microalgal species of unicellular, photosynthetic, flagellate protists as our model organism) at single-cell resolution by Raman spectroscopy with deuterium from deuterium oxide (D2O) as a tracking probe. Specifically, we replaced H2O in culture media with D2O up to a concentration of 20 % without disturbing the growth rate of E. gracilis cells and evaluated C−D bond formation as a consequence of photosynthetic reactions by Raman spectroscopy. We used the probe to monitor the kinetics of the C−D bond formation in E. gracilis cells by incubating them in D2O media under light irradiation. Furthermore, we demonstrated Raman microscopy imaging of each single E. gracilis cell to discriminate deuterated cells from normal cells. Our results hold great promise for Raman-based screening of E. gracilis and potentially other microalgae with high photosynthetic activity by using D2O as a tracking probe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2063-2068
Number of pages6
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 18 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry


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