DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.
Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a root nodule on the pea plant, Pisum sativum, caused by the nitrogen fixing bacteria Rhizobium leguminosarum. The bacteria convert atmospheric nitrogen into a usable organic form, something the pea cannot do itself, but which is imperative for its survival. Bacteria infect the plant through root hairs, forming an infection thread, which conveys them from the entry point to the nodule site. Here they divide repeatedly, swell and become known as bacteroids. The nodule consists of a central region filled with bacteroids surrounded by a loose, spongy region, the cortex, seen here. Magnification: X120 at 10x8cm, X17 at 35mm size.
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