ROBERT BECKER / CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROBERT BECKER / CUSTOM MEDICAL STOCK PHOTO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Red blood cells. Digitised coloured Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM) of human red blood cells (erythrocytes). The cells are biconcave in shape, an adaptation which provides the maximum surface area for the exchange of gases; and highly elastic, enabling them to pass through the narrow capillary vessels. The nucleus & other organelles are lost as the cell matures. The interior of each cell is packed with haemoglobin, a red iron- containing pigment which has an efficient oxygen carrying capacity. The principal function of erythrocytes is the distribution and transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide around the body.
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