DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY.
False colour scanning electron micrograph of a sporangium, or fruiting body, of the common bread mould, Rhizopus stolonifer. Spores circulate freely in the air. When they alight on a favourable medium, they germinate a network of hyphae (threads). Their function is to absorb food for growth & for spore production. Rhizopus produces stolons, or aerial hyphae, which on contact with a medium grow rhizoids or "rootlets". They anchor the fungus & absorb some water. Spores develop in saclike bodies, or sporangia. Under pressure from the maturing spores, the wall fragments, releasing the spores for dispersal. Magnification: X 71 at 35mm size.
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