ASTM F3294 - 18

    Standard Guide for Performing Quantitative Fluorescence Intensity Measurements in Cell-based Assays with Widefield Epifluorescence Microscopy

    Active Standard ASTM F3294 | Developed by Subcommittee: F04.46

    Book of Standards Volume: 13.02


      Format Pages Price  
    PDF 13 $56.00   ADD TO CART
    Hardcopy (shipping and handling) 13 $56.00   ADD TO CART



    Significance and Use

    5.1 Overview of Measurement System—Relative intensity measurements made by widefield epifluorescence microscopy are used as part of cell-based assays to quantify attributes such as the abundance of probe molecules (see ASTM F2997), fluorescently labeled antibodies, or fluorescence protein reporter molecules. The general procedure for quantifying relative intensities is to acquire digital images, then to perform image analysis to segment objects and compute intensities. The raw digital images acquired by epifluorescence microscopy are not typically amenable to relative intensity quantification because of the factors listed in 4.2. This guide offers a checklist of potential sources of bias that are often present in fluorescent microscopy images and suggests approaches for storing and normalizing raw image data to assure that computations are unbiased.

    5.2 Areas of Application—Widefield fluorescence microscopy is frequently used to measure the location and abundance of fluorescent probe molecules within or between cells. In instances where RIM comparisons are made between a region of interest (ROI) and another ROI, accurate normalization procedures are essential to the measurement process to minimize biased results. Example use cases where this guidance document may be applicable include:

    5.2.1 Characterization of cell cycle distribution by quantifying the abundance of DNA in individual cells (1).7

    5.2.2 Measuring the area of positively stained mineralized deposits in cell cultures (ASTM F2997).

    5.2.3 Quantifying the spread area of fixed cells (ASTM F2998).

    5.2.4 Determining DNA damage in eukaryotic cells using the comet assay (ASTM E2186).

    5.2.5 The quantitation of a secondary fluorescent marker that provides information related to the genotype, phenotype, biological activity, or biochemical features of a colony or cell (ASTM F2944).

    1. Scope

    1.1 This guidance document has been developed to facilitate the collection of microscopy images with an epifluorescence microscope that allow quantitative fluorescence measurements to be extracted from the images. The document is tailored to cell biologists that often use fluorescent staining techniques to visualize components of a cell-based experimental system. Quantitative comparison of the intensity data available in these images is only possible if the images are quantitative based on sound experimental design and appropriate operation of the digital array detector, such as a charge coupled device (CCD) or a scientific complementary metal oxide semiconductor (sCMOS) or similar camera. Issues involving the array detector and controller software settings including collection of dark count images to estimate the offset, flat-field correction, background correction, benchmarking of the excitation lamp and the fluorescent collection optics are considered.

    1.2 This document is developed around epifluorescence microscopy, but it is likely that many of the issues discussed here are applicable to quantitative imaging in other fluorescence microscopy systems such as fluorescence confocal microscopy. This guide is developed around single-color fluorescence microscopy imaging or multi-color imaging where the measured fluorescence is spectrally well separated.

    1.3 Fluorescence intensity is a relative measurement and does not in itself have an associated SI unit. This document does discuss metrology issues related to relative measurements and experimental designs that may be required to ensure quantitative fluorescence measurements are comparable after changing microscope, sample, and lamp configurations.

    1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

    1.5 This international standard was developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles on standardization established in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations issued by the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    E131 Terminology Relating to Molecular Spectroscopy

    E284 Terminology of Appearance

    E2186 Guide for Determining DNA Single-Strand Damage in Eukaryotic Cells Using the Comet Assay

    E2642 Terminology for Scientific Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) Detectors

    E2719 Guide for FluorescenceInstrument Calibration and Qualification

    E2825 Guide for Forensic Digital Image Processing

    F2944 Test Method for Automated Colony Forming Unit (CFU) Assays--Image Acquisition and Analysis Method for Enumerating and Characterizing Cells and Colonies in Culture

    F2997 Practice for Quantification of Calcium Deposits in Osteogenic Culture of Progenitor Cells Using Fluorescent Image Analysis

    F2998 Guide for Using Fluorescence Microscopy to Quantify the Spread Area of Fixed Cells

    ISO Standards

    ISO 13653 Measurement of relative irradiance in the image field

    ISO/IEC 10918-1:1994 Digital compression and coding of continuous-tone still images: Requirements and guidelines

    ISO/TR 12033:2009 Guidance for the selection of document image compression methods

    Other Documents

    European Machine Vision Association (EMVA) Standar Standard for Characterization and Presentation of Specification Data for Image Sensors and Cameras Available from European Machine Vision Association. http://www.emva.org/standards-technology/emva-1288/.

    SWGDE/SWGIT Glossary SWGDE and SWGIT Digital & updated June 8, 2012 Available from Scientific Working Group on Imaging Technology (SWGIT), http://www.swgit.org


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 07.100.01 (Microbiology in general)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    Referencing This Standard
    Link Here
    Link to Active (This link will always route to the current Active version of the standard.)

    DOI: 10.1520/F3294-18

    Citation Format

    ASTM F3294-18, Standard Guide for Performing Quantitative Fluorescence Intensity Measurements in Cell-based Assays with Widefield Epifluorescence Microscopy, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2018, www.astm.org

    Back to Top