Using 3D Modelling To Assist Microscopy Study
by Mol Smith 2010
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Smaller Things - Bacteria
I think 3D models can really provide some real value to light microscopists where our instruments fail to provide clear detail at high levels of magnification. 3D Models can help us to comprehend and visualise the shape, sophistication, processes, and intricacies of entities such as bacteria and viruses. It's a bit like enthusiast astronomers looking at stars: no matter the power of their instruments - stars are still dots of light. For us, bacteria are still colonies of dark tiny splotches, and viruses are beyond our reach altogether. It is a precious moment to peer down a microscope and behold real living forms, no matter how indistinct they appear, but when we exploit the technology of 3D modeling to add to the experience, even at its present simplistic form, we are surprised at the result. Consider this model of a single Bacteria (bacterium)...

And the model rendered and labelled...

Rod-shaped Bacterium
A simple bacterium. The DNA is in the Nucleoid or the cell and is nor contained within a separate membrane. In this model representation, the Ribosomes are depicted as a granular texture along the cell membrane. Projecting from the walls of some bacteria are pili (singular:
pilus) - shorter than flagella (singular: flagellum), which are concerned with cell-to-cell or cell-to-surface attachment. They are 'sticky'. Like all cells, the living material is surrounded by a partially permeable membrane, also the site of respiratory enzymes. Motile bacteria can move in response to certain stimuli, for example - aerobic bacteria will swim towards oxygen, whereas photosynthetic bacteria will move towards a light source.

Learn more about how the
bacterium moves here.

Anyone interested in learning more about Bacteria can use the links below to further their study.
Further information about Bacteria:    wiki    Mic-UK article by Wim van Egmond

Comments to the author
Mol Smith are welcomed.

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Published in Jan 2010 Micscape Magazine.
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