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What looks like the worn head of a toothbrush is tiny and usually cavort in the ground: it's a soil microbe. And this specimen here docks on the root of a thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana). The photo illustrates the research work of various American scientists on the symbiosis of plant roots and microbes. It is mainly about the carbon content in the root system and how this element affects the function of microorganisms. The researchers want to use their results to determine how plants react to the changed conditions caused by climate change.

The image itself was created under the scanning electron microscope and was convincing not only scientifically, but also aesthetically: The image of the root life of the inconspicuous cruciferous plant is one of the winners of the BioArt Photo Contest 2015, which is hosted annually by the Federation of American Societies For Experimental Biology.

Photo: Alice Dohnalkova, Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 2015 FASEB BioArt winner

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