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Nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Rhizobium leguminosarum nitrogen fixing bacteria (brown) in ruptured root nodule cells of a runner bean plant (Phaseolus coccineus). These bacteria take nitrogen gas from the air and bind it up in compounds which the plant can use for its nutrition. They do this using an iron-containing protein called leghaemoglobin, similar to the haemoglobin found in red blood cells. The plant benefits from this symbiosis as it means they can grow in soils with a low nitrogen content, soils which are inaccessible to other plants. Magnification: x475 at 6x7cm size.
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