A.B. DOWSETT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY A.B. DOWSETT / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of three human red blood cells (erythrocytes). The principal function of erythrocytes is distribution and transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide around the body. They are biconcave in shape, an adaptation which provides the maximum surface area for the exchange of gases. They are also highly elastic, enabling them to pass through narrow capillary vessels. The interior of the cell is packed with haemoglobin, a red iron-containing pigment which has a good oxygen-carrying capacity. The smaller objects (in yellow) are blood platelets. Magnification: x3100 at 6x4.5 cm size.
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