Viability assessment of invasive microplankton in ship’s treated ballast water

Kim Lundgreen, Henrik Holbech, Knud Ladegaard Pedersen

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPosterForskning


The spreading of aquatic invasive species in ship’s ballast water has huge environmental and health-related consequences and is causing socio-economic losses around the world in the order of US$100 billion per year. Regulations now require all large ships to have an approved ballast water treatment system (BWTS) on-board for cleaning of the ballast water to avoid further spreading of invasive species. To ensure BWTS compliance with discharge standards water samples need to be verified for the number of viable organisms in different size classes. The current standard method for assessing organism viability in the 10-50 µm range utilizes fluorescence of CMFDA/FDA stains. The stains are activated by enzyme activity present only in the viable cells with intact cell membrane which are then quantified using labour intensive direct manual microscope counting. Different concerns have been raised using this method. A special challenge is the verification UV based BWTS. UV causes damage to DNA, but leaves the cell membrane unaffected. DNA damage can either result in later death or in survival due to DNA repair. Current staining methods may therefore produce false positives as dead or dying organisms are recorded as viable. Effects on DNA cannot be measured by the methods currently prescribed. Comparative studies will be carried out to evaluate a number of novel markers and staining methods for more efficient and reliable viability assessments. Especially with focus on markers for DNA damages. The project will likewise test the efficiency of multi-labelling. Also, the potential complementary use of advanced microscopy and image analysis techniques for a more automated and robust quantitative assessment will be explored. The aim is that the established methods and the science behind will support the development of more efficient BWMS to avoid any further spreading of invasive species.
Publikationsdato22. jun. 2017
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 22. jun. 2017
Begivenhed6th Bioimaging Workshop Copenhagen - Copenhagen University, København, Danmark
Varighed: 22. jun. 201723. jun. 2017


Workshop6th Bioimaging Workshop Copenhagen
LokationCopenhagen University


  • Microscopy techniques
  • Image analysis