Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Bacillus subtilis, Gram-positive, aerobic, spore forming, rod prokaryote. Bacillus subtilis is commonly found in soil and decaying organic matter. During nutrient deficiency or adverse environmental conditions it can form endospores (resting cells, seen here as bulbous rods). These spores have a very thick cell wall and can survive for long periods of time being resistant to heat, acid and salt. They may germinate under favourable conditions to form the vegetative, rod shaped cells (bacilli). B. subtilis is not considered a human pathogen but it sometimes is pathogenic, causing severe eye infections such as iridocyclitis and panopthalmitis. Other strains produce insect toxins, peptide antibiotics and antifungals, some of which have been used in agricultural crop protection. Magnification: x2,400 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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