DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Archaea human intestine prokaryote (Methanobrevibacter smithii). Methanobrevibacter smithii is the main human gut (intestine) archeon (from the Archaea domain) that is a methanotroph (methanogen). It recycles the hydrogen in methane and allows for an increase in energy extraction for nutrients. It plays a role in the digestion of polysaccharides (complex sugars) by consuming the end products of bacterial fermentation. The human gut flora consists of three main groups of hydrogen consuming microbes: methanogens; a polyphyletic group of acetogenic bacteria; and sulphate reducing bacteria. Magnification: x5,335 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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