DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Acellular slime mould fruiting body, or sporocarp (Didymium sp.). Plasmodial slime moulds are enormous single cells with thousands of nuclei. They are formed when individual flagellated cells swarm together and fuse. The result is one large bag of cytoplasm (called a plasmodium) with many diploid nuclei. Individual plasmodium may coalesce to form larger plasmodium. As the larger plasmodium move around they feed on bacteria, algae and fungal cells. Eventually the plasmodial protoplasm becomes concentrated into a number of small mounds (sporangial initials) which then proceed to develop into sporangia. The giant plasmodia have been very useful in scientific studies of cytoplasmic streaming (the movement of cell contents) because it is possible to see this happening even under relatively low magnification. Magnification: x28 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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