DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Plasmodium falciparum plasmodial merozoite making initial contact with an erythrocyte (red blood cell) membrane at the beginning of erythrocyte invasion, coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM). The invasive merozoite has a distinct trilaminar membrane (brown). The merozoite cytoplasm contains a rhoptry neck, or duct, and rhoptry bulbs (red), a nucleus (blue), ribosomes (purple), micronemes (dark green) and mitochondria (dark pink). Malaria is caused by Plasmodium spp., protozoa. It is spread to humans by Anopheles species mosquitoes. The plasmodial parasite reproduces asexually in red blood cells significantly destroying many of them. Release of mature Plasmodium merozoites results in further infection and produces bouts of shivering fever (paroxysms) and sweating that may be fatal. Magnification: x5,840 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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