In this work, the growth of fertilized Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) eggs was monitored in vivo at the molecular level using near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy and NIR imaging. NIR spectra were recorded noninvasively for three major parts of a fertilized medaka egg, the embryonic body, the oil droplets, and the yolk, from the first day after fertilization to the day before hatching. Principal component analysis (PCA) revealed that water, protein, and lipid contents in the egg yolk and oil droplets changed significantly just before hatching. The ratio of the characteristic peaks due to proteins and lipids in the second derivative spectra suggested that the relative concentration of proteins to lipids was constant in the egg yolk, while it dramatically increased just before hatching in the oil droplets. Furthermore, linear discriminant analysis (LDA) predicted the hatching possibility on the next day with 100% and 99.3% accuracy for yolk and oil droplets data, respectively. Two types of NIR images were developed in situ using the band intensities of the lipids and proteins in the second derivative spectra. The egg's protein and lipid content was successfully visualized noninvasively. This technique should enable noninvasive quality testing of fertilized eggs in the future.
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