FRANCIS LEROY & MAXIMILIEN MOENS, BIOCOSMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY FRANCIS LEROY & MAXIMILIEN MOENS, BIOCOSMOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nitrogen-fixing root nodule formation. Animation showing the process by which nitrogen-fixing bacteria form a symbiotic relationship with a plant, resulting in a root nodule. Certain plants (such as legumes) are able to obtain atmospheric nitrogen via a symbiotic relationships with bacteria in their roots (typically Rhizobia bacteria). This process starts with the root (left) forming a root hair and emitting chemical signals (flavonoids, blue) that attract the bacteria (white). The bacteria stimulate the root hair, causing it to elongate and enclose the bacteria. The bacteria then enter and infect the root hair, forming an infection thread (pink) that penetrates into the root. The bacteria then develop into a new form called bacteroids (round). Further processes result in the formation of the root nodule containing the nitrogen-fixating bacterial units (red).
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