Wednesday, 27 December 2017

From North America to anywhere else

Ceratophyllum demersum is a native of North America. It now has a worldwide distribution, at least in part due to the aquarium and pond trade. It is a submerged aquatic plant which is capable of forming dense monospecific beds, excluding other plant species, causing problems to recreational activities on waterways and in some cases causing blockages at hydroelectric power stations. C. demersum can spread rapidly, and grows in a large range of aquatic habitats.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Synura, spring is in the air!

Synura sp. Chrysophytes or Golden Algae, are common in freshwater habitats especially in spring. These motile spherical colonies have yellow brown plastids, two flagella of different length and are covered with siliceous scales. 

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

What’s in a weld?

Investigation of welded materials for various applications in industry is of paramount importance. There are various test methods available to test the quality of welds such as destructive methods and methods whereby the material remains undamaged such as the use of images created by Rontgen rays.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Basics of Light Microscopy 5 - About Plan Apos

For sure, a genuine rendition of color is a basic demand on any light microscope. Using white light as the inspection tool for microscopic samples causes a high challenge on the microscope optics. Different wavelengths set different focal points, and this Chromatic Aberration (greek: χρωμα chroma = color and latin: aberrare = deviation) has to be compensated by combining lenses of different shape and different glass types.

In this sense, the Plan Apochromatic lens correction represents the highest level of color reproduction. Here the focal point for several wavelengths has been brought together by a clever combination of different lenses, resulting in a lack of colored fringes around phenomenon borders. 

Chromatic Aberration

Friday, 17 November 2017


Malaria has been recognized since the Greek and Roman civilizations over 2,000 years ago, with different patterns of fever described by the early Greeks. Malaria is the most important tropical disease known to man. It remains a significant problem in many tropical areas, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria is spreading as a result of environmental changes, including global warming, civil disturbances, increasing travel and drug resistance. There are approximately 100 million cases of malaria worldwide with about 1 million of these proving fatal.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Gooseberries under attack

Powdery mildew (Sphaerotheca mors-uvae) severely infects young shoots, stems and fruits of gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa). Environmental friendly and biological control measures are being sought throughout the world. Especially in organic currant growing, effective control measures are needed, because powdery mildew infections may result in a total loss of the crop. In organic currant growing the number of adequate control methods is very limited.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

What has microscopy to do with a beggar?

A connection really exists. Somewhere in the south of the Netherlands, on the estate of late professor Eugene Dubois, is a beautiful lake called 'The Bedelaar' or 'The Beggar'. In this lake, the aquatic micro life has been investigated using Motic microscopes. The movie tells about the results of this microscopic survey, supplemented by information about the professor, about his estate and the renowned hydro biologist Neele Wibaut.

So watch the movie and enjoy the footage of microscopically small underwater organisms.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

When bitten by a tick

Relapsing fever is bacterial infection characterized by recurring episodes of fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and nausea. It is caused by certain species of Borrelia spirochetes. which are transmitted through the bites of lice or soft-bodied ticks.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Quick microscope setup guide for Life Sciences inverted microscopes


Plug-in the microscope to the power supply (1). Switch it on (2) and gradually increase the light intensity up to the desired level (black wheel on the right side of the microscope) (3).

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Cladonia coccifera

This cup lichen is common in forests, sand dunes and heathland. It grows between moss and grass and is about half a centimeter tall. It has a red-colored spore forming fruiting or apothecia.

Lichens are tough organisms which can survive on the most unlikely places, where plants cannot grow. For example, in the desert, in the Antarctic, in high mountains.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Pear rust and Junipers

Pear Rust is an increasingly common fungal disease in pear trees. This disease can significantly slow the growth of a pear tree, and the tree will also give less fruits. Pear Rust is a fungus that cannot stay the whole year on the pear: in winter the tree has no leaves and the fungus is only present there. In winter, the fungus needs a Juniper to overwinter. After the winter the fungus makes spores, which are spread through the air. The spores fall on the pear tree, causing the fungal disease.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Micro skeletons from the sea

Silicoflagellates belong to a small group of marine planktonic organisms with siliceous skeletons composed of opaline rods. Silicoflagellates are both photosynthetic and heterotrophic. The cell size ranges from 20 to 80 μm.

Their internal silica skeletons are composed of a network of bars, and resemble those of radiolarians but are generally much less complex. Silicoflagellate skeletons usually comprise 1-2% of the siliceous component of marine sediments; they are

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Eating corn smut?

Common smut of corn, caused by Ustilago zeae (now known as U. maydis), is easily identified by tumor-like galls that form on actively growing host tissues and contain masses of dark, sooty teliospores.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

How insects breath

The basic insect respiratory system consists of a series of rigid tubes, called tracheae, connected to the outside via pairs of pores called spiracles (typically one pair per segment on the sides of the thorax and abdomen, lacking on certain segments). Air enters the system via the spiracles and the tracheae are air-filled. The spiracles can often be opened and closed and lead into short tracheae that enter a pair of longitudinal tracheal trunks, which are the main tracheal tubes. From these lateral tracheae branch smaller tracheae that supply the tissues with air. This supply is especially rich in the more active tissues, such as muscles, nervous tissues and the gut. Tracheae also extend into the wings, running inside the wing veins.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Escherichia coli are usually blamed

Cystitis, or bladder infection, is the most common urinary tract infection. It occurs in the lower urinary tract (the bladder and urethra) and nearly always in women. In most cases, the infection is brief and acute and only the surface of the bladder is infected. Deeper layers of the bladder may be harmed if the infection becomes persistent, or chronic, or if the urinary tract is structurally abnormal. Uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTI’s) are due to a bacterial infection, most often E. coli. Microscopic examination of the urine sample shows e.g. the presence of white blood cells and bacteria.

Symptoms of lower urinary tract infections usually begin suddenly and may include

Monday, 17 July 2017

Diatoms - Jewels of the Sea

Diatoms are unicellular algae that are found wherever there is water and sufficient light to stimulate photosynthesis. The cells may be free floating (planktonic) or attached to a substratum (sessile). The diatom cell possesses the property of being able to surround itself with a more or less rigid box-like (like a covered petri dish) skeleton of hydrated silica called a frustule. The classification of diatoms is largely based on frustule form and sculpture. Diatoms range greatly in size from 5 – 2000 μm in length, although most species encountered are in the size range 20 – 200μm. 

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Medicine in roots and tubers

Around 1600, Dahlia seeds from Mexico were transported for the first time to try them in Europe. In the beginning, there has been little note. Around 1800 there was more life in the brewery and the plant was pulled into bloom in the Botanical Gardens of Madrid. Later, the plant was seeded and grown in the Botanical Gardens of Berlin.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Golden colonial algae

The term colonial as used here applies to algae composed of free-swimming look alike unicells, which form groups that may be large and elaborately interconnected as in Volvox, or smaller and relatively simple as in Synura.

The Synura colonies shown in this video - taken in phase contrast - have ovoid golden-brown cells characteristic of the Chrysophyta, each cell bearing two flagella whose beating propels the colony through the water with a smooth rolling motion.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Yellow, widespread and strong

Xanthoria parietina is a yellowy orange colored leafy lichen that is one of the most common species around. The yellow chemical xanthorin is thought to be produced as a defense against UV radiation to which it is exposed in its normal habitat like cement tiled roofs, exposed twigs and branches etc.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Lemnaquatic - A simple strategy for freshwater bioremediation

A report by Leon Werner and Johann Liebeton

In addition to nitrogen and potassium, phosphorus is in the form of phosphate, one of the three main components of fertilizers. Concentrated phosphate rock is a finite resource. Phosphorus cannot be replaced or produced artificially like oil. For this reason, it is essential to establish a sustainable phosphate cycle for a growing world population, which reduces the phosphate loss to a minimum.

Our project has the goal of using duckweeds to bind phosphate and nitrate from surface waters and generate biomass. In this way, the environmental problem of eutrophication is alleviated and simultaneously the sedimentation of the phosphate prevented, which would make recycling impossible. An efficient and sustainable use of biomass is fundamental for meeting the desired energy transition. For this reason, the harvested biomass will be used in biogas plants to generate electricity.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Miliary TBC

TBC lung (Miliary Tuberculosis) Human c.s.
Motic's BA410E Plan APO 4X | Moticam 10

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease. It is caused by the filamentary tubercle bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis an actinomycete. It was discovered in 1882 by Robert Koch, it attacks the various organs of the body. Miliary tuberculosis occurs when the bacilli are spread from a primary infection by the blood and produce a big number of small tubercles (nodules) in other parts of the body, mainly in the lungs.

Clinically, acute miliary tuberculosis, often is a typhoid-like illness that begins shortly after the initial infection, especially in children and adolescents. The tissue

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

No plants and trees without symbiosis

Mycorrhizas are symbiotic relationships between fungi and plant roots (the term means literally 'fungus root') Perhaps more than 80% of the species of higher plants have these relationships, and so do many pteridophytes (ferns and their allies) and some mosses (especially liverworts). They are as common on crop plants (cereals,

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Cleverly adapted to the amount of light

In addition to water, carbon dioxide, mineral salts, and heat, light is one of the factors which are of vital importance for the green plant. It provides energy for the photosynthesis and brings about the growth and development of plant forms. In addition to the light on itself, also the light intensity plays an important role. The leaves of deciduous trees are the place where the energy required for the plant is formed by photosynthesis and assimilation. This is done in the chlorophyll-containing cells of the palisade layer. There below is loose fill and aerenchyma tissue. Outwardly a leaf is sealed off by a layer of epidermal cells, the outer walls thereof are thickened.

In fact, the light influences the construction of the plant and its leaves. We find sun leaves on the outer edge of the crown and on the south side of it, shade leaves

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Sugar sweet colors

The beautiful colors we observe under the polarizing microscope have to do with the "optical activity" of - in this case - fructose.

Light is an electromagnetic wave phenomenon, in which the direction of vibration is perpendicular to the direction of propagation. An electric and a magnetic vector vibrate thereby at right angles relative to each other. In a 'normal' light, such as daylight, all directions of vibration are present at the same time. Polarized light, is light wherein only one direction of vibration in the beam is present.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

It’s green and it has tentacles!

Hydras are tiny animals, which are closely related to jellyfish. Green Hydras live in shallow fresh water, such as streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds, where they attach themselves to plants, stones, twigs, or other objects. Unlike their jellyfish cousins, they don't like to float around. They are very common. A Green Hydra can grow up to 30 millimeters long, but usually they are less than 15 mm.

One hydra can have anywhere from four to twelve tentacles. Each tentacle has tiny bumps, called nematocysts. The nematocysts release a material that paralyzes

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Not just printed paper

In the Euro area national central banks together with the ECB are responsible for the printing of Euro banknotes. The ECB identifies first how many and which bills are needed. Then each central bank is instructed to press a few denominations. The ECB determines which printers in Europe are allowed to print the euro banknotes. These printers must meet the highest quality standards. The printing of Euro banknotes is a laborious process.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

How to be heat and drought resistant?

The Oleander has big, red, white or yellow, highly fragrant flowers. The 7 - 8 m high shrubs are spread from the Mediterranean to East Asia, growing in sunny locations and near watercourses. In North West Europe it is often drawn as a container plant.

Its leathery, lance-shaped leaves show the characteristics of xeromorphic - that means drought resistant - sun plants. Oleander is adapted to the very hot and dry borders of watercourses in summer.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Some roses are growing in the desert

Desert Rose is the name given to rosette formations of the minerals gypsum and barite with sand inclusions. The 'petals' are crystals flattened, fanning open along characteristic gypsum cleavage planes. The rosette crystal habit tends to occur when the crystals form in arid sandy conditions, such as the evaporation of a shallow salt basin.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Whirling like a wheel

Rotifers are microscopic aquatic animals of the phylum Rotifera. Rotifers can be found in many freshwater environments and in moist soil, where they inhabit the thin films of water that are formed around soil particles. The habitat of rotifers may include still water environments, such as lake bottoms, as well as flowing water environments, such as rivers or streams.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

How Do Flies Eat?

Fly Proboscis observed with a Motic B1 Upright Microscope

Flies have a special mouth part called a proboscis which, much like a straw, is used to drink liquids. The proboscis of the fly is a fascinating microscope object and in fact has been used on microscopy studies for a long time. The main interest is the tracheal ring structures which look spiral under low power but they are not.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Holding on to your host

Moniezia expansa is primarily present throughout ungulates of Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Australia. This parasite has also been found in South American countries, including Peru and Argentina.

Like all cestodes, or tapeworms, M. expansa are flat with multiple segments of proglottids, used for producing gametes for reproduction. The adult bodies lack digestive tracts and are covered with microvilli to increase surface area for the absorption of nutrients. Moniezia expansa adults can reach lengths of 4 to 5 meters and are separated into three sections including the scolex, neck and strobila. The scolex is usually less than 1 millimeter, and contains suckers and hooks to assist in holding on to the host. The small neck produces immature proglottids, while the large strobila (main body) consists of a large chain of mature male and female proglottids.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Traveling back to the Jurassic period!

Antique sample of a Pterodactyl Rib under a Motic B1 upright microscope

Pterodactlys were winged reptiles who lived in the Jurassic period about 150 million years ago. The specimen is a portion of a transverse section of rib (approx. 1.8mm wide) and was taken from the slate mine area of Stonesfield (Oxford, England) and has been prepared as a thin section and dated June 1855. Pterosaur bones are difficult to cut and polish to a thin section without losing material. It is a testament to the preparer that the paleohistology details are clearly visible.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Potatoes are everywhere

Potatoes contain starch in the form of typical large oval spherical granules; their size ranges between 5 and 100 microns. Under the microscope, the granules can be seen clearly in polarized light.

Potato starch – also known as potato flour – is extracted from potatoes. The cells of the root tubers of the potato plant contain starch granules (leucoplasts). To extract the starch, the potatoes are crushed and the starch grains are released from the cells. The starch is then washed out and dried to powder. Potato starch has been produced in the same basic way for centuries – actually even the ancient Incas knew how to make potato starch.