A.B. DOWSETT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY A.B. DOWSETT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour scanning electron micrograph (SEM) showing a human red blood cell (erythrocyte) with a fine covering of fibrin, the protein involved in clot formation. Erythrocytes transport oxygen and carbon dioxide around the body. Their biconcave shape is an adaptation which provides the maximum surface area for the exchange of gases. A high degree of elasticity enables them to pass through narrow capillary vessels. Red blood cells are packed with haemoglobin, a red, iron-containing pigment which has a high oxygen carrying capacity. Magnification: x5000 at 6x4.5 cm size Background at top left shows pores in the filter paper on which this sample was examined.
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