A. DOWSETT, HEALTH PROTECTION AGENCY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY A. DOWSETT, HEALTH PROTECTION AGENCY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, the cause of botulism food poisoning. The bacterium seen in longitudinal section at centre is in the process of spore formation; the spore is the circular region at right. Spores enable C. botulinum to survive in unfavourable conditions. The bacterium lives in soil, untreated water and badly preserved canned foods, notably meat & fish. It produces a potent exotoxin which attacks the central nervous system; death can result from heart and lung failure due to malfunctions in the cardiac and respiratory centres of the brain. Magnification: x17,000 at 6x7cm size.
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