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Sea of Cells

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posted on 01.09.2010, 00:00 authored by Gerald Gasper
Staph. epidermidis is an elusive bacterial microorganism responsible for many infections that occur during the introduction of implant devices in humans. As shown in this image, cells are spherical and about 1 micron in diameter. They form a highly dense network of bacterial cells called biofilms. Their heterogeneous, yet coordinated, structure fortifies them for various forms of antibiotic treatment. An extracellular polysaccharide substance unifies this cellular matrix and provides an adhesive to many different inorganic materials like plastics, ceramics, and certain metals. Nutrients and other fluid are transported through various channels and caverns that exist throughout the bacterial biofilm, shown as craters or warps in the uppermost layer. The image was taken with a Scanning Electron Microscope to show the sample was absent of contamination. The image also hints at the biofilm’s structural features that aid in its proposed mechanisms of defense.

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Entry in 2009 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 16-May 12, 2009.

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01/01/2009

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