Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Protected against harsh conditions

Helm grass is what we encounter in the dunes among others in the Netherlands. The Ammophillia arenaria can withstand the salty water and salty sea air. Ammophillia arenaria can be planted on all types of soil, only on clay soil it is best to make the soil poor with masonry sand. The soil must be calcareous.

At the cross-section of the grass blade we can see how the plant protects itself by rolling the leaf inwards. One could say that the plant creates its own small internal microclimate in which it can breathe comfortably. On the outside of the grass blade we see a solid protective layer of cells.

The image shown here is made from a prepared slide which belongs to the collection of the Royal Antwerp Society For Micrography

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Fibrosarcoma cat

A fibrosarcoma is a malignant tumor of mesenchymal connective tissue cells. Fibrosarcoma mainly occurs as a solitary tumor in the older cat. It can occur in several parts of the body. Usually on the trunk and often also between the shoulder blades, because injections are usually given here. First there is an injection site reaction that degenerates neoplastic. The rabies vaccine is known to be a possible cause of this. It is a malignant derailment of the dermal and subdermal connective tissue cells. The sarcoma grows locally very infiltratively and aggressively, not metastasizing quickly. But if so, then to the lungs and lymph nodes. Fibrosarcoma can also occur in young cats. In these cases it is often induced by a virus and there are multiple tumors over the entire body. 

A fibrosarcoma is recognized by a wavy braided cell structure of the elongated cells whose ends are tapered (spindle cells) Histologically it is a confused image (like turbulent bars or like a painting by Van Gogh) The cells have atypical nuclei (shape / color / mitosis) with sometimes multiple nucleoli. Fibrosarcomas feel firm or fleshy, are irregular in shape, often nodular with offshoots.

A final diagnosis is made by the veterinarian after taking biopsies. With X-rays you can examine whether there are metastases. The treatment consists of radical, very large resection, because otherwise the malignant tissue can quickly grow back by remaining cells. Optionally, the resection can be followed by radiation.

With thanks to Cees Koopman, veterinarian.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Easy observation and filming of plankton

When investigating water samples within the framework of hydrobiology, it is very easy to observe and film plankton with the Motic AE31E inverted microscope and the Moticam 1080 camera. The plankton containing water sample is stored in a culture dish, the bottom of which is formed by a calibrated cover glass. The dish is simply placed on the microscope stage. The Moticam 1080 is connected to a monitor. As soon as an interesting organism appears on the monitor screen, it only needs a simple mouse click to record the image.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

A Casuarina cunninghamiana from Australia

The Casuarina cunninghamiana or the River She-Oak is a large, fast-growing, pine-like tree native to the east of New South Wales and Queensland, Australia. The tree, an evergreen, has thin needle-like, flexible green twigs practically without leaves. An image of a cross section thereof is shown here. The epidermis shows a structure which is a little similar to that of pine needles.

The Casuarina cunninghamiana is one of the tallest trees of its kind and can reach a height of 30-35 m. Its straight stem branches are quite low and its bark is greyish brown, rough and cracked so that it often comes loose in strips. The plants can easily be grown from seeds. In some countries it is considered an invasive species because it can surpass indigenous plant communities.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

How do you look after four times shedding your skin

An adult female mosquito lays her eggs on the water surface. This can be in a ditch, in pools in the floodplains, in a pond or in the rain barrel. Each species has its own preference. The number of eggs that are laid is very different from species to species and can be up to 300 at a time. After a few days, the larvae crawl out of the egg. These larvae feed on algae, microbes and other substances in the water.

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