Like panes on a window, July’s Image of the Month is made up of four separate images of bacteria taken on a transmission electron microscope (TEM).
A TEM works by firing a high-energy beam of electrons at an ultra thin specimen, forming an image at a significantly higher resolution than a more traditional light microscope is capable of. This enables scientists to capture fine detail about the size, shape and structure of the object under study.
The bacteria in the top-left pane are live, and those on the top-right have been killed from exposure to heat. The bacteria bottom-left were exposed to Polymyxin, an antibiotic that punches holes in the bacterial membrane. Finally, the bacteria on the bottom-right were exposed to Nalidixic Acid, another antibiotic that works by interfering with the bacteria’s intrinsic DNA.
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