Real-time, low-cost detection of individual fungal cells in blood using Fountain Flow™ cytometry
© BioMed Central Ltd 2007
Published: 26 September 2007
Materials and methods
The FFC used here was used by us in previous published research to detect individual bacteria and amoebae in river water at concentrations ≥200 bacteria/ml and 0.06 amoebae/ml. An optical stimulant of blood was made by mixing red blood cells (RBCs) in saline to obtain a RBC concentration comparable with that of human blood. This was further diluted 1:20 in distilled water to reduce the opacity. Then the solution was inoculated with Candida albicans from the American Type Culture Collection to obtain samples of varying concentration. To label the Candida, FUN1, a fluorescent, fungus-specific dye (Invitrogen), was used. The dye Trypan was used to suppress background, especially from RBCs, which absorb small amounts of FUN1.
Three 0.1 ml samples at each concentration were flowed into the FFC in 200 seconds (although a much greater rate was possible), while 500 images were taken continuously. The images were then analyzed (in minutes) with custom software to count the fluorescent spots in the images corresponding to Candida. Plate counts of Candida on YM agar (18 hours incubation) were used for comparison.
The FFC has potential as a system for low-cost, real-time detection of low concentrations of fungi in human blood. Further work is required to lower the false detection rate, to increase the detection efficiency, and to perform tests on human blood with its additional complexity.