Oral bacterium, Actinomyces viscosus, SEM

Oral bacterium, Actinomyces viscosus, SEM

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Credit: DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Oral bacterium, Actinomyces viscosus. Actinomyces viscosus is a Gram-positive, anaerobic, filamentous bacterium that is part of the human oral flora. This rod shaped filamentous bacteria occur around the teeth, gums and throat in healthy humans. Species of this bacterium can cause actinomycosis, a granulomatous infection with the formation of abscesses in the mouth, lungs, or the gastrointestinal tract. Oral actinomycosis may occur due to trauma such as a tooth extraction or bleeding gums. Abdominal actinomycosis may follow appendicitis. Treatment is with antibiotics. Actinomyces sp. normally are soil or aquatic fungi feeding off decaying matter (saprophytes). They resemble fungi and form fungi-like mats (mycelia). Magnification: x1,400 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.

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