Above: A peacock mite on a branch. A significant pest in some regions, the name is evoked by their feather-like bristles or setae which can be used against predators. IMAGE BY RIA REBSTOCK Scientist, Postharvest Fresh Foods
IMAGES CAPTURED WITHIN THE PLANT & FOOD RESEARCH MICROSCOPY LABORATORY. CURATED AND HAND-COLOURED BY PLANT & FOOD RESEARCH PHOTOGRAPHER WARA BULLÔT.
The images in the following pages have been taken using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) as part of Plant & Food Research projects over the last 30 years. By scanning the surface of an object with a focused beam of electrons, SEMs can produce high-resolution images, at magnifications much greater than those captured with a light microscope. Specimens usually require special preparation to preserve or stabilise and increase electrical conductivity, prior to imaging.
SEM images have an intriguing 3D appearance. The original images are captured in grayscale but colour is often added to enhance their appearance and to make the images more visually appealing, as has been done in these photographs. In these images, hand colouring transforms seldom-seen views captured for science into images of curiosity and beauty.