Visible microspectrophotometry coupled with machine learning to discriminate the erythrocytic life cycle stages of P. falciparum malaria parasites in functional single cells

John A. Adegoke, Hannah Raper, Callum Gassner, Philip Heraud, Bayden R. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Malaria was regarded as the most devastating infectious disease of the 21st century until the COVID-19 pandemic. Asexual blood staged parasites (ABS) play a unique role in ensuring the parasite's survival and pathogenesis. Hitherto, there have been no spectroscopic reports discriminating the life cycle stages of the ABS parasite under physiological conditions. The identification and quantification of the stages in the erythrocytic life cycle is important in monitoring the progression and recovery from the disease. In this study, we explored visible microspectrophotometry coupled to machine learning to discriminate functional ABS parasites at the single cell level. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) showed an excellent discrimination between the different stages of the ABS parasites. Support Vector Machine Analysis provided a 100% prediction for both schizonts and trophozoites, while a 92% and 98% accuracy was achieved for predicting control and ring staged infected RBCs, respectively. This work shows proof of principle for discriminating the life cycle stages of parasites in functional erythrocytes using visible microscopy and thus eliminating the drying and fixative steps that are associated with other optical-based spectroscopic techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2662-2670
Number of pages9
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2022

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