DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Micrococcus luteus, gram-positive, coccoid bacterium (.05 to 3.5 microns in diameter). It is capable of dividing in more than one plane, and often forms clusters of bacteria. M. luteus can be found in soil, dust, water and air, as well as on human skin. It is part of the normal flora of the human body. The bacterium colonizes the human mouth, mucosae, oropharynx and upper respiratory tract. It is not usually considered a pathogen, or disease-causing organism of healthy people. Only in immunocompromised individuals, will it cause problems such as septic shock, pneumonia endocarditis or sepsis. It is now considered an emerging nosocomial pathogen. The bacteria can degrade compounds in sweat, and on the skin, into ones producing unpleasant odours (foot odour, for instance). Magnification: x10,665 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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