The malaria parasite monitored by photoacoustic spectroscopy

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Science  24 Feb 1984:
Vol. 223, Issue 4638, pp. 828-830
DOI: 10.1126/science.6695185


Noninvasive photoacoustic spectroscopy was used to study the malaria parasites Plasmodium chabaudi and Plasmodium berghei, their pigment, and ferriprotoporphyrin IX, which is a by-product of the hemoglobin that the parasite ingests. The results indicate that the pigment consists of ferriprotophorphyrin self-aggregates and a noncovalent complex of ferriprotoporphyrin and protein. Spectra of chloroquine-treated parasites reveal in situ interaction between the drug and ferriprotoporphyrin. Chloroquine-resistant parasites, readily distinguishable by this method, appear to degrade hemoglobin only partially.