DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Penicillium chrysogenum, the species of penicillin fungus from which the antibiotic is manufactured. The micrograph shows a close-up of the fungal spores, or conidia. The conidia are in fact green in colour, which is why mouldy cheese often looks green. The slightest movement of air causes the conidia to be detached & blown away. Penicillium species are the most widespread moulds, & the air is full of their conidia. It was the chance arrival of a spore of P. notatum on a bacterial plate that led to Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin as an antibiotic. Magnification: x2850 at 35mm size.
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