STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Tongue surface. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) showing detail of the surface epithelial cells of the tongue. The tongue is the mouth's muscular organ involved in taste, speech and manipulating food. Here, the borders between individual epithelial cells are marked by the dark folds. The surface of each cell is covered in an intricate pattern of tiny folds called microplicae. The microplicae help to reduce friction between individual cells. They also trap surface mucus within their folds which helps to prevent the tongue surface from drying out. Small pieces of debris (purple) are seen caught on these folds. Magnification: unknown.
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