DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Clostridium spore formation and developmental stages, vegetative cell (left) to mature spore forming cell with large spore (right). Clostridium sp. are Gram-positive, endospore-forming, anaerobic, rod prokaryotes that occur in many environments. In their vegetative stage they rapidly undergo division and retain their thin, rod-shaped (bacillus) appearance. When environmental conditions become less favourable for normal growth the vegetative cells will to form a spore (endospore) inside the cell. Spores can remain viable for many years and will start to grow when more favourable growth conditions occur. Important Clostridium species include: Clostridium botulinum causes food poisoning (botulism), wound infections and infant botulism. Clostridium difficile a spore-forming bacteria. It is the major cause of pseudomembranous colitis and antibiotic produced diarrhoea. Magnification: x2,500 when shortest axis.
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