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More attention was focused on fungi contamination in drinking water. Most researches about the inactivation of fungal spores has been conducted on disinfection efficiency and the leakage of intracellular substances. However, the specific structural damage of fungal spores treated by different disinfectants is poorly studied. In this study, the viability assessment methods of esterase activities and intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) were optimized, and the effects of chlorine-based disinfectants on fungal spores were evaluated by flow cytometry (FCM) and plating. The optimal staining conditions for esterase activity detection were as follows: fungal spores (106 cells/mL) were stained with 10 μM carboxyfluorescein diacetate and 50 mM ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid at 33 °C for 10 min (in dark). The optimal staining conditions for intracellular ROS detection were as follows: dihydroethidium (the final concentration of 2 μg/mL) was added into fungal suspensions (106 cells/mL), and then samples were incubated at 35 °C for 20 min (in dark). The cell culturability, membrane integrity, esterase activities, and intracellular ROS were examined to reveal the structural damage of fungal spores and underlying inactivation mechanisms. Disinfectants would cause the loss of the cell viability via five main steps: altered the morphology of fungal spores; increased the intracellular ROS levels; decreased the culturability, esterase activities and membrane integrity, thus leading to the irreversible death. It is appropriate to assess the effects of disinfectants on fungal spores and investigate their inactivation mechanisms using FCM. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Ruihua Cao, Qiqi Wan, Lili Tan, Xiangqian Xu, Gehui Wu, Jingyi Wang, Huining Xu, Tinglin Huang, Gang Wen. Evaluation of the vital viability and their application in fungal spores' disinfection with flow cytometry. Chemosphere. 2021 Apr;269:128700

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PMID: 33127110

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