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Bella Donna

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Title: Bella Donna
Author(s): Cai, Geping
Abstract: "One of Van Gogh’s masterpieces? This is part of the leaf surface of the herb Belladonna under Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). As its name gives, the belladonna leaf epidermis is wrinkled with these velvety swirls, resembling the curly hairs of a girl. The leaf microscopic characteristic is also important in identifying this toxic plant species, which is actually a candidate for extraction of atropine drugs. I took this image when writing a monograph for the plant in a Microscopy of Natural Drug Products course at UIC. Adulterated herbal medicines endanger the safety and efficiency of drug uses. Microscopy is an accurate method to determinate powdered herbal medicines with reference to their microscopic characteristics of these plant species. SEM magnifies objects up to more than 500,000 times, and is therefore a sophisticated instrument to identify plant substructures at cellular level. This course broadened our views toward the morphology of herbal medicines much in depth into a micro-world. Not only the methodology is extensively useful in our research area, but the amazing aesthetic perspectives intrigue us into still joyful explorations."
Issue Date: 2010
Type: Image
Description: Entry in 2010 in The Image of Research, a competition for students in graduate or professional degree programs at UIC, sponsored by UIC's Graduate College and the University Library. Images of award recipients and honorable mention images on exhibition in the Richard J. Daley Library and the Library of the Health Sciences, April 15-May 31, 2010.
Date Available in INDIGO: 2011-04-13

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