Seeds. Steve Gschmeissner / SPL / mediadrumimages.com

By Mark McConville

 

A SERIES of striking microscopic pictures has revealed the colourful patterns that make up the everyday illnesses the public is often struck down by.

Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of virus particles from human cells infected with the classic influenza A virus A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (H1N1).
Steve Gschmeissner / SPL / mediadrumimages.com

 

The incredible images show Aussie flu infection which looks like purple silly string, human cells infected with influenza B virus which looks like tiny seeds attaching themselves to a sponge and H1N1 flu strain infecting human cells.

Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of human cells infected with H3N2 flu. Influenza (flu) is an infectious disease caused by an influenza virus. Symptoms can be mild to severe.
Steve Gschmeissner / SPL / mediadrumimages.com

 

Other colourful snaps show the yellow and red capsules of the bird flu virus attacking human cells, seeds causing hayfever and the string-like threads of the H1N1 flu strain.

Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of human cells infected with H3N2 flu. Influenza (flu) is an infectious disease caused by an influenza virus. Symptoms can be mild to severe.
Steve Gschmeissner / SPL / mediadrumimages.com

 

The coloured scanning electron micrographs (SEM) were taken by Steve Gschmeissner who is one of the leading scanning electron microscopists in the world today.

Human cells infected with bird flu virus, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Influenza (flu) is an infectious disease caused by an influenza virus. The virus shown here has a gene derived from H5N1, a type of influenza virus that causes a highly infectious, severe disease in birds called highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) or bird flu.
Steve Gschmeissner / SPL / mediadrumimages.com

 

“For many years I have been waiting to share my wonderment at the microscopic world that exists around us and even in us,” he said.

Human cells infected with influenza B virus, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Influenza (flu) is a respiratory disease caused by infection with a flu virus. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Steve Gschmeissner / SPL / mediadrumimages.com

 

“For anyone involved in microscopy the SEM is the ultimate boy’s toy. Costing between £100,000 and £500,000 there are only a handful of people around the world who have access to this for fun. To be able to use this equipment is a dream come true.

Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of human cells infected with the classic influenza A virus A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (H1N1). This strain of influenza virus is a descendent of the 1918 Spanish influenza virus, but is now highly laboratory adapted and is used as the basis for influenza virus vaccines because it replicates to very high titre in chicken eggs and in cell cultures.
Steve Gschmeissner / SPL / mediadrumimages.com

 

“The SEM picks up basically where the normal light microscope finishes. And it takes it so much further by magnifying the specimen up to a million times.

Seeds. Composite coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a variety of common seeds. A seed is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering.
Steve Gschmeissner / SPL / mediadrumimages.com

 

“Also different to a regular microscope is the fact the SEM builds a 3D image using electrons giving you a unique view.”

 

 

 

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