Wednesday, 7 November 2018

No movement without motor nerve cells

Nerve cells or neurons are cells that you need for example when picking up a pen or in the reaction to contact with a hot or cold object etc. There are three types of nerve cells: sensory, motor and relay nerve cells.

Sensory nerve cells can be found throughout the body. The sensory nerve cells are the cells that collect information, e.g. if something hurts or feels hot or cold etc. The sensory nerve cells send this information to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) where it is processed.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Green light from the rocks of the Aladzha Monastery

The remains of the Aladzha Monastery on the Black Sea coast are located just above the port city of Varna, Bulgaria. In the very distant past, this monastery was carved out of a steep rock wall consisting of limestone. The monastery is formed by small caves situated at different levels in the rock wall.

In the photos of some pieces of limestone you can recognize the powdery structure of this soft limestone. 

However, let’s still have a look under the fluorescence microscope then; blue light excitation and FITC filter.  As can you see, green light, this white limestone shows auto fluorescence.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Panthera UC-Plan and diatoms

Diatom skeletons that are free of their content like chlorophyll etc. are excellent objects to test and compare the quality of microscope lenses. In this case, some pictures of the recently marketed Motic Panthera are shown.

The photos are stacked to show the sharpness over the entire length of the diatom. The actual microscopic images through the Panthera microscope are even sharper. Some sharpness is lost by the camera and the photo stacking program.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Basics of Light Microscopy: Incident Light Microscopy for opaque samples (II) - Dark Field

In the first part of our Incident Light Microscopy post we already explained the double function of the microscope objective in this kind of application field.

Playing an essential part in the imaging process is the task of every microscope objective. The manufacturer pays a lot of attention and spends remarkable efforts in creating a glass hardware for reliable and “close-to-truth” image results.

In incident light applications, the objective is additionally part of the illumination system. The lamp house sends light horizontally through the illumination axis. A semi-transparent mirror with a 45° orientation deflects the light and sends it through the objective. After reflection from the specimen surface, the light brings back sample information to the eyepieces and/or camera.

For the Darkfield method in an Incident light setup, this description is also valid. We just should know one more fact about optical reflection: The angle of Incidence is equivalent to the angle of Reflection.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Selecting the right microscope

BA Elite Series

Category: Advanced Transmitted Light Microscopes

Target specimen: Transparent samples (sections, smears, emulsions, water samples) from Biology & Medicine; rarely from Industry

Target customer: Lab technicians

This comparison is an approach for classifying different microscope models in a defined performance range. Here we are talking about Motic’s BA Elite series of Advanced Transmitted light microscopes, meant for routine work in university and biomedical lab. The comparison is meant to help you in finding a suitable solution for your lab.

The following chart is based on the specifications of the basic outfit for each model and its upgrade options. Our rating of the single specifications rests upon an individual understanding of the actual numerical values. This is a subjective rating, and we understand that each person might have its own opinion.

BA SERIES - Comparison Chart

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

We are not alone

In our body and on our skin live a lot of bacteria. On each human cell there are ten bacterial cells. This total of bacteria on and in our body is also called microbiome. Most of these are found in the large intestine: the intestinal flora. In an adult, the intestinal flora consists of 1014 (which are 100,000,000,000,000 bacteria). 99% thereof is strictly anaerobic.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Seeing the effect of radiation damage

The rock matrix contains quartz, plagioclase feldspar, microcline feldspar and biotite mica. The greenish brown flake of biotite shown in the centre exhibits many dark brown circular features resembling cigarette-type burns. These features are known as pleochroic halos and are a diagnostic feature of biotite. These halos are interesting as they are isotropic compared to the surrounding material which is anisotropic. The halo in the centre of field shows a small brightly coloured crystal of zircon which causes the dark brown effect due to a process called metamictization. This process is the radioactive decay and destruction of the crystal structure surrounding the zircon and the affected area becomes amorphous and hence isotropic.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

How a small intestinal roundworm contributed to genetics

Cross-sections at the right place in the uterus of a female Ascaris megalocephala can be used to locate eggs in different stages of the first segmentation mitosis*.

After fixation and coloration of the sections, the chromosomes appear colored. The egg of this parasitic nematode can then serve as a support for studying the chromosomal phenomena that characterize the mitosis.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

The grainy taste of pear flesh

Sclerenchyma cells are derived from parenchymal cells, which form secondary thickening edges in the cell wall. These are rich in lignin, which practically does not allow any substances getting through, which finally leads to dying of the cell content. Sclerenchyma is thus usually a dead support tissue, whose task is mainly to provide support an mechanical strength. Depending on the shape of the cells, stone cells (sclereids) and sclerenchyma fibers are distinguished.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Silverberry and the universe

A prepared slide of Silverberry scaly hair is often found in microscopy starters packages for amateurs. The beautiful colors and shapes do well under the microscope.