SCIMAT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIMAT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Bacteria. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of bacteria in a compost heap. Compost is made by allowing a heap of vegetable trimmings, non-seeding weed plants and grass mowings to rot. The resulting brown, crumbly compost is dug into soil to provide plants with nutrients. The surface of the compost is covered by various coccal (spherical, blue) and rod-shaped (bacilli, green) saprophytic bacteria. These bacteria feed on the rotting material, breaking it down into its constituent elements.
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