Photoacoustic and fluorescent methods are used intensely in biology and medicine. These approaches can also be used to investigate unicellular diatom algae that are extremely important for Earth’s ecology. They are enveloped within silica frustules (exoskeletons), which can be used in drug delivery systems. Here, we report for the first time the successful application of photoacoustic (PA) and fluorescent visualization of diatoms. Chlorophyll a and c and fucoxanthin were found likely to be responsible for the photoacoustic effect in diatoms. The PA signal was obtained from gel drops containing diatoms and was found to increase with the diatom concentration. The fluorescence lifetime of the diatom chromophores ranged from 0.5 to 2 ns. The dynamic light scattering, absorbance, and SEM characterization techniques were also applied. The results were considered in combination to elucidate the nature of the photoacoustic signal. Possible biotechnological applications are proposed for the remote photoacoustic monitoring of algae.

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