DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Clostridium phytofermentans, Gram-positive, anaerobic, rod shaped prokaryote (bacterium). C. phytofermentans is a spore-forming bacterium (spore forming cell shown in this image) that naturally occurs amongst decomposing plant and animal matter. It is a soil bacterium that can utilize lignocellulose (a type of cellulose) and generate ethanol, thus making it a possible candidate for use in ethanol production. Cellulose is prominent in cell walls of higher plant life and thus is an important by product of agricultural and municipal waste. Microorganisms primarily carry out the decomposition of cellulose and this process is an important step in the cycling of carbon in the biosphere. Cellulolytic Clostridium species are very important in biotechnology due to their ability to convert cellulose biomass in to fuels such as ethanol. Magnification: x5,865 when shortest axis printed at 25.
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