Image of the month


This is a scanning electron micrograph, with false colour, of Penicillium mould. Penicillium is a very common mould often found growing on food. This particular sample was collected from some yogurt that was well past its sell-by date. The long, thread-like structures are multicellular filaments called hyphae, while the bead-like particles are spores. Mould spreads, in part, by releasing these spores into the air. When the spores alight on a piece of damp food they can take root, spreading quickly and creating more spores. Scanning electron microscopy is widely used in the identification and study of moulds.

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