PROFESSOR P.M. MOTTA & E. VIZZA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PROFESSOR P.M. MOTTA & E. VIZZA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Placenta. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of blood vessels (purple) in the sectioned healthy placenta of a 37 year old woman at term. The vessels are in the chorionic villi, part of the placenta in which the foetus' blood supply comes very close to the mother's blood. This allows the exchange of gases, nutrients and waste with the mother's blood, as the foetus cannot breathe, feed or excrete while in the womb. The surface of the villi (green) has been opened up manually to reveal the blood vessels. Some of the blood vessels are seen to contain red blood cells (red). Magnification: x1100 at 6x7cm size.
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