GERD GUENTHER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GERD GUENTHER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nostoc cyanobacteria, detail of a spherical colony. Nostoc sp. filaments inside a gelatinous colony. Nostoc algae have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen in specialized cells, the heterocytes (seen in the middle right of the image), thereby playing a major role in soil fertility. Nostoc is frequently abundant in flooded rice paddies, where it contributes to the fertilization of some 2 million hectares. They have a wide distribution and are commonly found in soil and on mud, rocks and plants. Microscopic contrast technique : brightfield. Magnification: 380x when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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