Interpretation of the ultraviolet-visible spectra of malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum

Appl Opt. 2010 Jan 10;49(2):180-8. doi: 10.1364/AO.49.000180.


The absorption and scattering properties of three developmental stages of protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum were studied both experimentally and theoretically. Experimentally, the light attenuation and forward scattering from parasites extracted from host erythrocyte cultures were measured with UV-visible spectroscopy. The measured spectra were interpreted theoretically with a model based on the core-shell Mie theory in terms of the structural and compositional characteristics of the protozoa. The model accurately reproduced the features of the measured spectra of all developmental stages. The results show that realistic quantitative estimates of the parasite size, nucleotide, and hemozoin contents can be derived from the UV-visible spectroscopy measurements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Malaria / parasitology*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / chemistry*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / growth & development*
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet / methods*