Turbidity poses a major challenge for the microscopic characterization of food systems. Local mismatches in refractive indices, for example, lead to significant image deterioration along sample depth. To mitigate the issue of turbidity and to increase the accessible optical resolution in food microscopy, we added adaptive optics (AO) and flat-field illumination to our previously published open microscopy framework, the miCube. In the detection path, we implemented AO via a deformable mirror to compensate aberrations and to modulate the emission wavefront enabling the engineering of point spread functions (PSFs) for single-molecule localization microscopy (SMLM) in three dimensions. As a model system for a non-transparent food colloid such as mayonnaise, we designed an oil-in-water emulsion containing the ferric ion binding protein phosvitin commonly present in egg yolk. We targeted phosvitin with fluorescently labelled primary antibodies and used PSF engineering to obtain two- and three-dimensional images of phosvitin covered oil droplets with sub 100 nm resolution. Our data indicated that phosvitin is homogeneously distributed at the interface. With the possibility to obtain super-resolved images in depth, our work paves the way for localizing biomacromolecules at heterogeneous colloidal interfaces in food emulsions.
This article is part of the Theo Murphy meeting issue ‘Super-resolution structured illumination microscopy (part 2)’.