SCIMAT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIMAT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
This enhanced SEM micrograph shows partially degraded starch granules in red yeast rice cells and Monascus purpureus fungal hyphae which broke down the starch. Red yeast rice has been consumed in China for centuries. It has cholesterol-reducing properties attributed to naturally occurring statins (mevinolin, i.e., the drug Lovostatin) in crystalline form produced by the fungus which obtains nutrients from the rice grains. Grain cells and starch granules in them are densely packed in rice not affected by the fungus. Statins are nowadays produced by the pharmaceutical industry as medicines. Image width: 53.5 micrometers, bar: 10 micrometers, magnification: 1870x if the image is printed 10 cm wide.
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