Top Portable Microscope Reviews

 

In our recent article, we have learned how to choose the right microscope for kids that will help your little one learn more about the world that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Your child might have increased interest in science and biology and a good microscope could definitely help him/her satisfy all his/her curiosities.

Furthermore, your little one might want to learn more about certain external factors that can affect our health, and if so, in this article, you will find many interesting things about Bacillus anthracis. If we captured your attention, you should read more to gain all the necessary information that will offer you a better understanding of how dangerous this bacterium is.

Bacterial infection

Bacillus anthracis is the bacterium that causes anthrax and even if it is mostly known to cause a bacterial infection in livestock, there are situations when it can also affect humans. Also, its spores can contaminate the soil in many parts of the world. The name comes from the Greek word for coal, anthrax, because once infected the victim will experience black, coal-like, cutaneous eschars.

Besides being found in soil, spores also thrive in animal carcasses, feces, and animal products such as wool and hides. There are various animals such as cats, dogs, rats, and swine that are very resistant to anthrax. Another interesting aspect about this bacterium which makes it a bit different than many bacteria is that its spores can stay inactive in the soil for decades.

Anthrax spores can be compared to eggs as they can hatch under special conditions and they will germinate into active bacteria. That is why the spores are not very dangerous and they are not able to cause too much of a damage to tissue. But, as soon as they get into the body, they will start to transform into harmful disease-causing bacteria.

The bacterial infection has been discovered in 1850 by a German physician named Robert Koch and it is believed to be the first bacterium that was able to cause disease. The scientist managed to grow the anthrax bacteria in culture plates and then injected them into animals and he could prove that the animals got sick.

Later, the French scientist Louis Pasteur, who is mostly known for pasteurizing milk, had the idea to use damaged anthrax bacteria to develop a vaccine for anthrax. His experiment was a success and he was able to show that the vaccine can protect the animals from getting the disease.

How people are affected

It is easy to imagine that people will get infected with anthrax if the spores will manage to enter their bodies. As we have already mentioned, the spores will become active and this is when they become anthrax bacteria. Also, it is very important to know that the bacteria can multiply and can spread inside the body when they start producing toxins that can lead to severe illness.

If you were wondering how the spores manage to enter a human’s body, you should know that they can be inhaled when people breathe them in. When an individual breathes the spores, they will end up in the lungs and they will start germinating there and cause inhalation anthrax. It is believed that the most deadly form of infection is the pulmonary one.

When the spores are inhaled, the victim will start experiencing hemorrhagic pneumonia along with associated pleural effusion. Moreover, the organisms are able to travel inside the body and they will spread to the lymph nodes where they will produce hemorrhagic mediastinitis. The next symptoms are bacteremia, toxic shock, and in many cases, death.

Another type of anthrax is the gastrointestinal one that occurs when people drink water or eat food that is contaminated with spores. Also, if a person has a cut or a scrape on the skin, the spores will be able to enter those areas and will start germinating there and cause cutaneous anthrax.

Cutaneous penetration starts with a necrotic eschar that will extend to blood vessels very fast which will lead to bacteremia, sepsis, meningitis, and death. Also, it is considered the most common form of anthrax that accounts for over 90% of all human cases. Another type of anthrax that has been discovered recently is injection anthrax present among people injecting heroin.

 

Bioterrorism

A very interesting aspect of Bacillus anthracis is that its spores can be used in bioterrorism. Bioterrorism is a form of terrorism when certain bacteria, viruses, or other germs are used, in order to harm people. For that reason, most people also refer to it as germ warfare, as the name is more intuitive and easier to understand.

We are all familiar with the definition of terrorism released by the US government, which is the unlawful use of force and violence against other people and their property for intimidation or coercion in order to achieve certain social or political objectives or goals. When we say terrorism we don’t have a particular weapon in mind that is being used.

That is why the name will change into bioterrorism in order to make a clear distinction regarding the type of weapons that are being utilized. The reason why terrorists choose to use a biological agent to harm people is to scare them and to make them believe that the government is not strong enough to protect them.

Bacillus anthracis has gained plenty of attention because the terrorists can access its spores quite easily, and that is why it is considered the most likely agents to be used in a biological attack. Besides being able to produce anthrax spores in a lab, they can also be found in nature. The scariest part is that they are able to last for a very long time in the environment.

Even though Bacillus anthracis is susceptible to common antibiotics, in the recent decade many scientists started to worry over the potential existence of anthrax that is weaponized and resistant to antibiotics. That is why extensive planning has been prompted in order to avoid any potential terrorist attacks.

Anthrax vaccine

It is extremely important to know that there is a vaccine to prevent anthrax. However, the vaccine is not available for the general public and only certain US military personnel or laboratory workers have access to it.

Other individuals who may get the vaccine are those who work with animals or animal products or anyone who presents an increased risk of getting infected with the bacterium. Even if this vaccine works well, it cannot prevent all cases – if the people are vaccinated before the exposure to the bacteria, the study showed that the vaccine will manage to protect 9 out of 10.

Also, not anyone can get this vaccine as it depends on age and health conditions, and that is why it is always recommended to discuss with your healthcare professional and ask for more information. Moreover, individuals who had to take a dose of the anthrax vaccine in the past and have had severe allergic reactions will not be able to get another dose.

The same goes for those people who have certain allergies to any vaccine component – they don’t qualify for the vaccine. In the US there is only one type of anthrax vaccine, BioThrax which is only given to individuals that are 18 to 65 years old in combination with antibiotics.

 

 

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Choosing the right dissecting microscope might be a bit challenging as there is a wide selection of models and styles available on the market. Even if all of them function using the same principles, you need to be careful when purchasing your own as there are many differences between one model and the next.

We are always eager to know more about the world around us, and that is why learning what yeast is and how it affects our bodies will definitely make us see certain things differently. Yeast is not only used to make bread or to brew beer, but we also have it in our bodies! If we have made you curious, you should keep on reading as you will find lots of exciting information.

What is yeast?

Many people know that yeast is used to make bread – this is the first thing that comes into our mind every time we mention this fungus. Yes, yeast is a fungus! Furthermore, yeast can be of various kinds and each of them has its own role in our lives. While we use a type of yeast to make bread, we use another one to brew beer.

Also, there is this yeast that is called candida and it lives inside our bodies, and we need to be careful because sometimes if it grows out of control it can cause an infection. There are many areas of our bodies where yeast infections can occur including the skin, mouth, feet, mouth, vagina, or penis.

Keeping our immune system strong is extremely important in order to avoid getting one of the infections mentioned above. Also, you should be aware that yeast is good for our body if it is consumed in small quantities. Foods that are rich in yeast also offer multiple proteins and B vitamins which will help us keep our digestive system healthy.

Besides helping you absorb minerals and vitamins from various foods, there are situations when yeast can help you fight certain diseases. Whereas, if you consume too much you might experience health issues or infections. That is why you need to pay attention to those factors that will increase the quantity of yeast in your body.

Antibiotics, for example, if they are taken too often, will encourage your body to grow too much yeast; and the same goes with oral birth control – it will stimulate the growth of yeast. Some symptoms that will let you know if the amount of yeast in your body is too high are mouth sores, bloating, gas, bad breath, itchy rashes, or a coating on your tongue.

Also, when your immune system is weak, yeast can overgrow in your body and will affect your health. That is why those people whose immune system is not strong enough will most likely experience a yeast infection. Babies and older people are among them, as well as people that have various diseases like diabetes or HIV infection.

 

Candida

There are many types of fungi that live in and on our bodies, and among them, we can remember the genus of yeasts known as Candida. This fungus is found in small amounts in the mouth and on the skin in various areas of the body. If it stays within normal levels, candida is harmless but when it starts to grow out of control, it can cause candidiasis – a very common infection.

To understand how dangerous yeast can be, you should know that Candida is the most common cause of fungal infections in humans. As we have mentioned earlier, yeast can be found in our mouth which means that candidiasis can develop in the mouth or even in our throat and it is known as thrush – most common among people with a weak immune system.

Also, if someone doesn’t have good oral hygiene or they have dentures that can be removed, there are chances for a yeast infection to occur, more exactly “thrush”. There are certain signs that individuals might notice if they suffer from oral thrush and among the most common we can remember the white and bumpy patches on their tongues, as well as on their gums or tonsils.

The symptoms are quite noticeable and it is almost impossible for the ill person to notice them because most of the times the patches are painful and they will even bleed if they are scraped. Also, in most cases, the individuals will be able to observe their tongue or mouth become red. There are certain situations when people might experience difficulty when swallowing.

Moreover, the number one symptom that most people experience is increased tiredness because candidiasis is often accompanied by nutritional deficiencies. Because candida is present in the vaginal tract of most women when the yeast grows uncontrollably the individuals might experience a yeast infection also known as candidiasis of the vagina.

That is why if you notice that your vagina burns or itches, you should know that these are signs that can be associated with a yeast infection. Also, some women reported pain or discomfort when they peed or had sex. Moreover, yeast can also cause certain allergies as there are people who are allergic to it in various foods such as bread, vinegar, or beer.

What foods contain yeast?

There are various types of foods that will stimulate the growth of yeast in your body, and that is why you should know which those products that can put your health at risk are. Moreover, there are certain beverages that will manage to do the same thing, and it is good to know which ones they are in order to prevent an overgrowth of yeast in your body.

It is easy to imagine that foods such as muffins, pizza, cakes, bread, and pretzels contain yeast as they are made of dough which is a breeding ground for yeast. Also, there are those fermented products like pickles or certain salad dressings that should be eaten with caution as they contain yeast.

Alcoholic beverages are also on the list, especially wine and beer – no matter how much we like them, their consumptions should be limited because of their yeast component. Moreover, if you are among those people who cannot say no to sugar, you should start opting for a healthy lifestyle because candies or soft drinks will stimulate the growth of yeast in your body.

Although fruits are very healthy and they are recommended to be part of our day-to-day diet, there are some of them such as watermelon and honeydew that shouldn’t be consumed in large quantities as they have a high content of yeast. The same goes with vegetables, certain legumes like squash, potatoes, and beets – these should be eaten in moderation.

You should always stay away from cheese or milk products especially if you have lactose intolerance because your body may lose its ability to fight excess yeast, and we know how dangerous this can be for our health. Artificial sweeteners such as maple syrup or honey as well as starchy foods like corn or potato are high in sugar and they act as food for yeast.

 

 

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If you are in search of a quality and portable microscope, this article here is packed with all the info that you have to know about the topic. In this short guide, we are here to talk to you about different ways to prepare a microscope slide.

A wet mount

To mount a wet mount slide, you will need to use slides, coverslips, water, toothpicks, scissors, a razor blade, clear nail polish, and a microscope.

To start, you have to place a drop of water or a drop of clear nail polish on a new or clean slide. If the subject that you want to view is liquid (for example soapy water or pond water), or liquid food (honey or yogurt) the specialists argue that there is no need for you to use water. Instead, you just have to place the liquid material on the slide.

Then, use a toothpick or a forceps (if you have one) to gather the material (provided that it is non-liquid). Next, transfer the material onto the water or the polish drop from the slide. If you have to, you can use the forceps/toothpick to gently dislodge the materials.

Now you have to lower a coverslip and to place it onto the slide. Finally, you can examine the slide under the microscope and you can take the time to record your findings. From this point of view, it should be said that using a special journal might come in handy. Some users also point out that taking pictures of the observed slides might also be helpful.

If you leave it intact, a slide that was prepared using nail polish is semi-permanent. The slides prepared using water are temporary. You can wash them and then you can leave them to dry. They can be reused as often as possible.

Normally, wet mounts are utilized when examining living samples such as aquatic or transparent ones. If the organisms that you are trying to view are moving too quickly, you can add a drop of a solution called Proto Slow. The substance has to be added before you place the coverslip on. This product can be purchased online or from specialized retailers.

Because, as the liquid evaporates from the slide, there is a chance that the organisms on it might die, the specialists recommend that you use a toothpick to gently coat the edges of the coverslip with petroleum jelly. You should do so before you place the coverslip on. To seal the slide, it is best that you press gently onto the coverslip.

 

A dry mount

As fellow microscope users say, dry mounts are easier to prepare. To do so, you will need slides and coverslips, scissors, toothpicks or forceps, razor blades and clear nail polish (optional).

As expected, you have to start by using the forceps or the toothpicks to gather the dry material that you intend to examine under the microscope. Then, you have to place the material on the slide. Finally, simply add a coverslip over the slide.

To hold the specimen in place, you can always use a concavity slide. Plus, you can also transform it into a semi-permanent slide by adding a drop of clear nail polish onto it. Once you are all done, you can get to work and start examining the slide under high or low power.

Once again, you can now take pictures of the material that you are observing and you can make minute notations in your journal.

How to stain slides

As the experts assert, there are numerous ways in which a person can stain a slide. Staining slides is necessary in order to make it easier for one to see details that, otherwise, might not be visible. The simplest way to make a stain is by utilizing methylene blue, iodine or crystal violet. You can use these substances when preparing both wet and dry mounts.

To start, you have to prepare a dry or a wet slide, in accordance with your preference. Add the coverslip as well. Next, place a small drop of methylene blue, iodine or crystal violet on the edge of the coverslip.

You then have to put the edge of a paper towel or of tissue on the opposite part of the coverslip. According to the specialists, capillary action will actually pull the dye across the slide and the specimen will be stained.

 

What objects can one examine under the microscope

If you are out of inspiration, and you do not know what objects you can examine next under the microscope, we have gathered a couple of suggestions that you might want to try.

If you want to prepare a dry slide, you should consider using sugar, powder detergent, salt, mold from food, thin slices of vegetables or fruit and even pet and human hair. On top of that, some also recommend analyzing garden soil and even dust!

In the case of wet slides, you can always take the time to analyze yogurt, pound water, wet soil, tooth plaque or even cheek cells. If you have plenty of time on your hands, as well as a stereo microscope, you can examine a dollar bill, newspaper clippings, flower petals, butterflies and postage stamps.

 

Yogurt bacteria

If you want to examine bacteria cultures under the microscope, you can do so by utilizing yogurt. To do so, you will need glass slides, toothpicks, yogurt, plastic slips and Methylene blue (optional).

You have to start by taking a small drop of yogurt by using the toothpick. Next, smear it for two to three seconds on the slide. Then, place a small drop of methylene blue on the slide. This step is entirely optional.

Finally, place a coverslip over the slide and remove the excess solution from around the coverslip. You can use a paper towel to do this efficiently. Once you are done, you can view the slide under the microscope at 4x or 10x. While you do so, remember that bacteria will appear small, no matter how high the magnification is.

Safety precautions

When it comes to preparing a microscope slide, there are a couple of safety measures that you should keep in mind. To start, you have to wear the necessary protective clothing. You have to put the clothing on before you actually start using the microscope.

By protective clothing, we are referring to safety glasses, disposable gloves, and a lab coat. This is particularly important if you are handling dangerous chemicals of biological material of any kind.

To avoid breaking the microscope in between uses, fellow users recommend that you use both your hands when transferring it from one place to another. It is best that you place a hand underneath it and the other one on top of it.

Plus, it is advisable that you do not touch the lens of the microscope with bare hands as this might lead to the damaging of the device itself. Additionally, when using a microscope, it is crucial that you do not use direct sunlight as a light source. If you do so, you risk serious eye damage according to the experts.

Finally, it is crucial that you handle the slides with extra caution in order to prevent the risk of cuts and/or contamination.

 

 

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If you are looking to learn how to use your new portable digital microscope to examine all kinds of parasites, you have come to the right place. In the informative article below we will show you all that you need to know to get started and then you may take a quick look for more info here about how you can use your iPhone as a microscope.

 

 

What is a parasite?

A parasite in an organism that lives on or within a host. The host in this situation is another living organism. Once attached to the host, the parasite will use the resources of the other organism to fuel its own life cycle. The types and size of parasites vary widely, but around 70% of them are not visible to the human eyes such as the malarial parasite.

There are also some parasites that will not require a microscope to see such as worm parasites that can reach close to over 30 meters in length. While parasites are not a disease, they are more than capable of spreading them, and each one can have its own unique effects.

There are three main types of parasites that you can study: protozoa, helminths, and ectoparasites. Examples of protozoa include Plasmodium, which is a single-celled organism. What’s unique about protozoa parasites is that they need a host in order to multiply or divide.

Helminths are also known as worm parasites and some examples of these include the roundworm, tapeworm, Trichinella spiralis, pinworm, and fluke. You won’t always need a microscope to reveal these parasites since a few of them tend to grow large enough to be visible with the naked eye, but close inspection will indeed require proper instruments.

Finally, we have the ectoparasites which don’t live in their hosts, but rather on them. Some good examples include fleas, lice, and ticks. While they too can be observed with the naked eye, it is only through a microscope that you can see a detailed image of them.

 

Protozoa parasites

The malaria parasite is a unicellular parasite that is spread by the female Anopheles mosquitoes, and a good example of protozoa. Once in the body, the parasite will infect the red cells where it will thrive and pose a significant health risk to infants and pregnant women.

If you have access to a positive slide to view under the microscope, it is very easy to reveal the parasite inside the red cells but also outside of them. To reveal it, you will need a compound microscope, clean microscope glass slips, clean microscopes slides, immersion oil, and a Giemsa-stained blood film.

Giemsa stain is composed of basic and acidic parts, which will cause the nucleic parts of the parasite which is acidic to appear purple when staining the smear. While the nucleic parts will appear purple, the background will appear to be blue since it is acidophilic. That should make it very easy for you to observe the malaria parasite.

When using Giemsa stain, you will need to cover the slide with a thin smear of 10% Giemsa stain and let it stand for about 30 minutes. You can then wash the slide with distilled water and drain the excess water with blotting paper and allow it to dry. You are now free to examine it under the microscope.

As always, you will need to be extra careful when dealing with blood. Make sure you always use a clean pair of gloves and dispose of needles and any other material used or contaminated with blood so as to avoid injury or infection.

 

Helminth parasites

If you want to observe a helminth parasite under the microscope, you will need to use the Kato-Katz technique. This technique is purposefully designed to help you detect and determine the number of helminth eggs in a sample of feces.

For this, you will need to get your hands on a standard Kato-Katz template, a spatula, an aluminum foil, a wire mesh, clean glass slides, and cellophane that was soaked in methylene blue for around 24 hours.

The procedure is not very complicated. You will need to position the Kato-Katz template on the clean microscope slide you have prepared and use the gloves and a spatula to pick up about 2 grams of the feces you have available and place them onto the aluminum foil.

You then need to press the wire mesh on the top of the sample to sieve it and use another spatula to rake the sieved material off until it can fill the hole in the template. Then remove the template gently so that the sample can stay on the slide. You can now place the piece of cellophane over the sample.

With the help of another slide, spread the smear until you have obtained a thick layer that is distributed evenly and leave it for about 40 minutes. Once the 40 minutes have passed, you can view and examine the number of eggs present in the sample.

 

 

Ectoparasites

Fleas are one of the ectoparasites that you can safely examine using a microscope. You may want to start with a non-parasitic species first, such as a water flea. To observe a water flea, you will need a stereomicroscope, glass slides with pre-prepared electrical tape chamber, paper towels, coverslips, a dropper, a petri dish, and a sample of Daphnia pulex (water flea).

With the use of a dropper, you must begin by sucking some water from a container that has pond water containing daphnia and place a drop on the sample on a microscope slide with the tape chamber.

Now, lay a cover slip gently on the sample so as to avoid pressing too much which can kill the Daphnia (if you want to see a live sample). Finally, place the sample under the microscope and observe it using 4x and 10x.

If you want to observe a body flea, the process is even more straightforward, and you will simply need to pick the flea using a pair of tweezers and place it on a stereomicroscope.

 

 

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While you may use an iPhone microscope to observe things such as hair, bugs, and specs of dust, if you want to see objects that are millions of times smaller such as bacteria, molecules, and viruses, you will need an electron microscope.

In the informative article below we will explore this extraordinary instrument, and afterward, you can also read some of our other articles if you want to look for more information about the types of microscopes you can purchase for yourself or for your kids.

What is an electron microscope?

When our eyes see the objects in the world around us, they do so because of light rays, be it from the Sun or from another artificial or natural light source, like a lamp or a candle. The classic microscope sees using these particles of light, known as photons, too, and it works great as long as the objects you are observing are large enough.

Things get tricky when you wish to observe things that are smaller since in that situation using photons to observe things can be quite difficult, and gives you pictures that are clumsy and often times useless.

The photons of light that an ordinary light microscope uses are equivalent to a wavelength of around 400-700 nanometers. This is more than enough for studying the human hair, bugs, or a spec of dust which can be hundreds of times bigger than the wavelength of the microscope.

Bacteria, on the other hand, is around 200 nanometers across, and a protein can be as small as 10 nanometers long. To examine these specimens you will need an instrument that can use particles that have an even shorter wavelength, and the perfect tools for this job are the electrons.

As you’ve probably learned in school, electrons are the minute charged particles that can be found in the outer regions of atoms. An electron microscope, as you can probably already deduce from its name, uses a stream of electrons instead of a beam of light.

What makes an electron microscope so powerful is the fact that unlike an ordinary light microscope, its wavelength is hundreds of times shorter at just over 1 nanometer. This allows this nifty instrument to see objects that are, as crazy as it may seem, smaller than even light itself.

 

How does an electron microscope work?

Even though this instrument is much more advanced, if you’ve used a classic microscope before, the idea behind it is very similar and you will find it quite easy to understand how the whole thing works.

With an ordinary microscope, there are four important parts: the source of light, the specimen, the lenses that help make the specimen appear bigger, and the final magnified image of the specimen that you end up seeing.

With an electron microscope, there are still four steps involved but they are just slightly different. First, the light source is now replaced by a beam of fast-moving electrons. Then, the specimen will need to be prepared specially and held inside a vacuum chamber since electrons can’t travel very far in air.

There are no lenses present in an electron microscope, as these are replaced by a series of coil-shaped electromagnets. The electrons will travel through these electromagnets, and the coils in the electromagnets will bend electron beams just as the glass lenses bend the light beams that pass through them to produce magnification. In this sense, they work very similarly.

Finally, the end result is produced as a photograph, also known as an electron micrograph, or most commonly, as an image that you can observe on the screen of a computer monitor or TV.

 

The two types of electron microscopes

If you want to learn even more about this device, you should know that there are currently two different types of electron microscopes and even though they both work using the same basic concept, they offer different results and are used for different applications.

First, we have the Transmission Electron Microscope, also known as TEM, which is the original form of this instrument as it was developed in 1931. It has the most in common with an optical microscope. The TEM fires a beam of electrons through a specimen and that helps it produce the magnified image of the object

The TEM requires a very thick solid as a detector and its resolution is usually about 1 nanometer. Furthermore, high voltage and antivibration TEMs are so powerful that they can even resolute individual atoms.

The other type is the Scanning Electron Microscope, SEM, which has a resolution of around 2 nanometers. Unlike a TEM, an SEM will scan a beam of electrons over a specimen in order to produce the magnified image of the object. Thus, the beam of electrons won’t go right through the specimen.

SEMs are used to make images of the surfaces of tiny objects. This is why most of the electron microscope images you can see in books such as wasps holding microchips in their mouths and what not, are made using SEMs.

 

 

Where are electron microscopes used?

Electronic microscopes are most commonly used in universities, research laboratories, and nanotechnology centers but the way that this instrument can be used is quite varied. Apart from the many scientific discoveries this nifty instrument can help uncover, it can also be used in industry, forensic science, and natural resources.

For industrial purposes, the electron microscope can help in developing new products by providing high-resolution images for the developing and manufacturing of small electronics such as semiconductors.

Perhaps the most exciting application for the average person is in forensic science where an electron microscope can be used to analyze clothing fibers, blood, biological substances and even the residues from a gunshot.

Electron microscopes can also be used to analyze and characterize organic materials, which is very important especially for mining companies since it lets them see objective, automated and quantitative information about the environment very fast.

 

 

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Scales | History, Benefits & Common Uses

 

In our recent article, we have learned how to choose the right microscope for kids that will help your little one learn more about the world that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Your child might have increased interest in science and biology and a good microscope could definitely help him/her satisfy all his/her curiosities.

Furthermore, your little one might want to learn more about certain external factors that can affect our health, and if so, in this article, you will find many interesting things about Bacillus anthracis. If we captured your attention, you should read more to gain all the necessary information that will offer you a better understanding of how dangerous this bacterium is.

Bacterial infection

Bacillus anthracis is the bacterium that causes anthrax and even if it is mostly known to cause a bacterial infection in livestock, there are situations when it can also affect humans. Also, its spores can contaminate the soil in many parts of the world. The name comes from the Greek word for coal, anthrax, because once infected the victim will experience black, coal-like, cutaneous eschars.

Besides being found in soil, spores also thrive in animal carcasses, feces, and animal products such as wool and hides. There are various animals such as cats, dogs, rats, and swine that are very resistant to anthrax. Another interesting aspect about this bacterium which makes it a bit different than many bacteria is that its spores can stay inactive in the soil for decades.

Anthrax spores can be compared to eggs as they can hatch under special conditions and they will germinate into active bacteria. That is why the spores are not very dangerous and they are not able to cause too much of a damage to tissue. But, as soon as they get into the body, they will start to transform into harmful disease-causing bacteria.

The bacterial infection has been discovered in 1850 by a German physician named Robert Koch and it is believed to be the first bacterium that was able to cause disease. The scientist managed to grow the anthrax bacteria in culture plates and then injected them into animals and he could prove that the animals got sick.

Later, the French scientist Louis Pasteur, who is mostly known for pasteurizing milk, had the idea to use damaged anthrax bacteria to develop a vaccine for anthrax. His experiment was a success and he was able to show that the vaccine can protect the animals from getting the disease.

How people are affected

It is easy to imagine that people will get infected with anthrax if the spores will manage to enter their bodies. As we have already mentioned, the spores will become active and this is when they become anthrax bacteria. Also, it is very important to know that the bacteria can multiply and can spread inside the body when they start producing toxins that can lead to severe illness.

If you were wondering how the spores manage to enter a human’s body, you should know that they can be inhaled when people breathe them in. When an individual breathes the spores, they will end up in the lungs and they will start germinating there and cause inhalation anthrax. It is believed that the most deadly form of infection is the pulmonary one.

When the spores are inhaled, the victim will start experiencing hemorrhagic pneumonia along with associated pleural effusion. Moreover, the organisms are able to travel inside the body and they will spread to the lymph nodes where they will produce hemorrhagic mediastinitis. The next symptoms are bacteremia, toxic shock, and in many cases, death.

Another type of anthrax is the gastrointestinal one that occurs when people drink water or eat food that is contaminated with spores. Also, if a person has a cut or a scrape on the skin, the spores will be able to enter those areas and will start germinating there and cause cutaneous anthrax.

Cutaneous penetration starts with a necrotic eschar that will extend to blood vessels very fast which will lead to bacteremia, sepsis, meningitis, and death. Also, it is considered the most common form of anthrax that accounts for over 90% of all human cases. Another type of anthrax that has been discovered recently is injection anthrax present among people injecting heroin.

 

Bioterrorism

A very interesting aspect of Bacillus anthracis is that its spores can be used in bioterrorism. Bioterrorism is a form of terrorism when certain bacteria, viruses, or other germs are used, in order to harm people. For that reason, most people also refer to it as germ warfare, as the name is more intuitive and easier to understand.

We are all familiar with the definition of terrorism released by the US government, which is the unlawful use of force and violence against other people and their property for intimidation or coercion in order to achieve certain social or political objectives or goals. When we say terrorism we don’t have a particular weapon in mind that is being used.

That is why the name will change into bioterrorism in order to make a clear distinction regarding the type of weapons that are being utilized. The reason why terrorists choose to use a biological agent to harm people is to scare them and to make them believe that the government is not strong enough to protect them.

Bacillus anthracis has gained plenty of attention because the terrorists can access its spores quite easily, and that is why it is considered the most likely agents to be used in a biological attack. Besides being able to produce anthrax spores in a lab, they can also be found in nature. The scariest part is that they are able to last for a very long time in the environment.

Even though Bacillus anthracis is susceptible to common antibiotics, in the recent decade many scientists started to worry over the potential existence of anthrax that is weaponized and resistant to antibiotics. That is why extensive planning has been prompted in order to avoid any potential terrorist attacks.

Anthrax vaccine

It is extremely important to know that there is a vaccine to prevent anthrax. However, the vaccine is not available for the general public and only certain US military personnel or laboratory workers have access to it.

Other individuals who may get the vaccine are those who work with animals or animal products or anyone who presents an increased risk of getting infected with the bacterium. Even if this vaccine works well, it cannot prevent all cases – if the people are vaccinated before the exposure to the bacteria, the study showed that the vaccine will manage to protect 9 out of 10.

Also, not anyone can get this vaccine as it depends on age and health conditions, and that is why it is always recommended to discuss with your healthcare professional and ask for more information. Moreover, individuals who had to take a dose of the anthrax vaccine in the past and have had severe allergic reactions will not be able to get another dose.

The same goes for those people who have certain allergies to any vaccine component – they don’t qualify for the vaccine. In the US there is only one type of anthrax vaccine, BioThrax which is only given to individuals that are 18 to 65 years old in combination with antibiotics.

 

 

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Choosing the right dissecting microscope might be a bit challenging as there is a wide selection of models and styles available on the market. Even if all of them function using the same principles, you need to be careful when purchasing your own as there are many differences between one model and the next.

We are always eager to know more about the world around us, and that is why learning what yeast is and how it affects our bodies will definitely make us see certain things differently. Yeast is not only used to make bread or to brew beer, but we also have it in our bodies! If we have made you curious, you should keep on reading as you will find lots of exciting information.

What is yeast?

Many people know that yeast is used to make bread – this is the first thing that comes into our mind every time we mention this fungus. Yes, yeast is a fungus! Furthermore, yeast can be of various kinds and each of them has its own role in our lives. While we use a type of yeast to make bread, we use another one to brew beer.

Also, there is this yeast that is called candida and it lives inside our bodies, and we need to be careful because sometimes if it grows out of control it can cause an infection. There are many areas of our bodies where yeast infections can occur including the skin, mouth, feet, mouth, vagina, or penis.

Keeping our immune system strong is extremely important in order to avoid getting one of the infections mentioned above. Also, you should be aware that yeast is good for our body if it is consumed in small quantities. Foods that are rich in yeast also offer multiple proteins and B vitamins which will help us keep our digestive system healthy.

Besides helping you absorb minerals and vitamins from various foods, there are situations when yeast can help you fight certain diseases. Whereas, if you consume too much you might experience health issues or infections. That is why you need to pay attention to those factors that will increase the quantity of yeast in your body.

Antibiotics, for example, if they are taken too often, will encourage your body to grow too much yeast; and the same goes with oral birth control – it will stimulate the growth of yeast. Some symptoms that will let you know if the amount of yeast in your body is too high are mouth sores, bloating, gas, bad breath, itchy rashes, or a coating on your tongue.

Also, when your immune system is weak, yeast can overgrow in your body and will affect your health. That is why those people whose immune system is not strong enough will most likely experience a yeast infection. Babies and older people are among them, as well as people that have various diseases like diabetes or HIV infection.

 

Candida

There are many types of fungi that live in and on our bodies, and among them, we can remember the genus of yeasts known as Candida. This fungus is found in small amounts in the mouth and on the skin in various areas of the body. If it stays within normal levels, candida is harmless but when it starts to grow out of control, it can cause candidiasis – a very common infection.

To understand how dangerous yeast can be, you should know that Candida is the most common cause of fungal infections in humans. As we have mentioned earlier, yeast can be found in our mouth which means that candidiasis can develop in the mouth or even in our throat and it is known as thrush – most common among people with a weak immune system.

Also, if someone doesn’t have good oral hygiene or they have dentures that can be removed, there are chances for a yeast infection to occur, more exactly “thrush”. There are certain signs that individuals might notice if they suffer from oral thrush and among the most common we can remember the white and bumpy patches on their tongues, as well as on their gums or tonsils.

The symptoms are quite noticeable and it is almost impossible for the ill person to notice them because most of the times the patches are painful and they will even bleed if they are scraped. Also, in most cases, the individuals will be able to observe their tongue or mouth become red. There are certain situations when people might experience difficulty when swallowing.

Moreover, the number one symptom that most people experience is increased tiredness because candidiasis is often accompanied by nutritional deficiencies. Because candida is present in the vaginal tract of most women when the yeast grows uncontrollably the individuals might experience a yeast infection also known as candidiasis of the vagina.

That is why if you notice that your vagina burns or itches, you should know that these are signs that can be associated with a yeast infection. Also, some women reported pain or discomfort when they peed or had sex. Moreover, yeast can also cause certain allergies as there are people who are allergic to it in various foods such as bread, vinegar, or beer.

What foods contain yeast?

There are various types of foods that will stimulate the growth of yeast in your body, and that is why you should know which those products that can put your health at risk are. Moreover, there are certain beverages that will manage to do the same thing, and it is good to know which ones they are in order to prevent an overgrowth of yeast in your body.

It is easy to imagine that foods such as muffins, pizza, cakes, bread, and pretzels contain yeast as they are made of dough which is a breeding ground for yeast. Also, there are those fermented products like pickles or certain salad dressings that should be eaten with caution as they contain yeast.

Alcoholic beverages are also on the list, especially wine and beer – no matter how much we like them, their consumptions should be limited because of their yeast component. Moreover, if you are among those people who cannot say no to sugar, you should start opting for a healthy lifestyle because candies or soft drinks will stimulate the growth of yeast in your body.

Although fruits are very healthy and they are recommended to be part of our day-to-day diet, there are some of them such as watermelon and honeydew that shouldn’t be consumed in large quantities as they have a high content of yeast. The same goes with vegetables, certain legumes like squash, potatoes, and beets – these should be eaten in moderation.

You should always stay away from cheese or milk products especially if you have lactose intolerance because your body may lose its ability to fight excess yeast, and we know how dangerous this can be for our health. Artificial sweeteners such as maple syrup or honey as well as starchy foods like corn or potato are high in sugar and they act as food for yeast.

 

 

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If you are in search of a quality and portable microscope, this article here is packed with all the info that you have to know about the topic. In this short guide, we are here to talk to you about different ways to prepare a microscope slide.

A wet mount

To mount a wet mount slide, you will need to use slides, coverslips, water, toothpicks, scissors, a razor blade, clear nail polish, and a microscope.

To start, you have to place a drop of water or a drop of clear nail polish on a new or clean slide. If the subject that you want to view is liquid (for example soapy water or pond water), or liquid food (honey or yogurt) the specialists argue that there is no need for you to use water. Instead, you just have to place the liquid material on the slide.

Then, use a toothpick or a forceps (if you have one) to gather the material (provided that it is non-liquid). Next, transfer the material onto the water or the polish drop from the slide. If you have to, you can use the forceps/toothpick to gently dislodge the materials.

Now you have to lower a coverslip and to place it onto the slide. Finally, you can examine the slide under the microscope and you can take the time to record your findings. From this point of view, it should be said that using a special journal might come in handy. Some users also point out that taking pictures of the observed slides might also be helpful.

If you leave it intact, a slide that was prepared using nail polish is semi-permanent. The slides prepared using water are temporary. You can wash them and then you can leave them to dry. They can be reused as often as possible.

Normally, wet mounts are utilized when examining living samples such as aquatic or transparent ones. If the organisms that you are trying to view are moving too quickly, you can add a drop of a solution called Proto Slow. The substance has to be added before you place the coverslip on. This product can be purchased online or from specialized retailers.

Because, as the liquid evaporates from the slide, there is a chance that the organisms on it might die, the specialists recommend that you use a toothpick to gently coat the edges of the coverslip with petroleum jelly. You should do so before you place the coverslip on. To seal the slide, it is best that you press gently onto the coverslip.

 

A dry mount

As fellow microscope users say, dry mounts are easier to prepare. To do so, you will need slides and coverslips, scissors, toothpicks or forceps, razor blades and clear nail polish (optional).

As expected, you have to start by using the forceps or the toothpicks to gather the dry material that you intend to examine under the microscope. Then, you have to place the material on the slide. Finally, simply add a coverslip over the slide.

To hold the specimen in place, you can always use a concavity slide. Plus, you can also transform it into a semi-permanent slide by adding a drop of clear nail polish onto it. Once you are all done, you can get to work and start examining the slide under high or low power.

Once again, you can now take pictures of the material that you are observing and you can make minute notations in your journal.

How to stain slides

As the experts assert, there are numerous ways in which a person can stain a slide. Staining slides is necessary in order to make it easier for one to see details that, otherwise, might not be visible. The simplest way to make a stain is by utilizing methylene blue, iodine or crystal violet. You can use these substances when preparing both wet and dry mounts.

To start, you have to prepare a dry or a wet slide, in accordance with your preference. Add the coverslip as well. Next, place a small drop of methylene blue, iodine or crystal violet on the edge of the coverslip.

You then have to put the edge of a paper towel or of tissue on the opposite part of the coverslip. According to the specialists, capillary action will actually pull the dye across the slide and the specimen will be stained.

 

What objects can one examine under the microscope

If you are out of inspiration, and you do not know what objects you can examine next under the microscope, we have gathered a couple of suggestions that you might want to try.

If you want to prepare a dry slide, you should consider using sugar, powder detergent, salt, mold from food, thin slices of vegetables or fruit and even pet and human hair. On top of that, some also recommend analyzing garden soil and even dust!

In the case of wet slides, you can always take the time to analyze yogurt, pound water, wet soil, tooth plaque or even cheek cells. If you have plenty of time on your hands, as well as a stereo microscope, you can examine a dollar bill, newspaper clippings, flower petals, butterflies and postage stamps.

 

Yogurt bacteria

If you want to examine bacteria cultures under the microscope, you can do so by utilizing yogurt. To do so, you will need glass slides, toothpicks, yogurt, plastic slips and Methylene blue (optional).

You have to start by taking a small drop of yogurt by using the toothpick. Next, smear it for two to three seconds on the slide. Then, place a small drop of methylene blue on the slide. This step is entirely optional.

Finally, place a coverslip over the slide and remove the excess solution from around the coverslip. You can use a paper towel to do this efficiently. Once you are done, you can view the slide under the microscope at 4x or 10x. While you do so, remember that bacteria will appear small, no matter how high the magnification is.

Safety precautions

When it comes to preparing a microscope slide, there are a couple of safety measures that you should keep in mind. To start, you have to wear the necessary protective clothing. You have to put the clothing on before you actually start using the microscope.

By protective clothing, we are referring to safety glasses, disposable gloves, and a lab coat. This is particularly important if you are handling dangerous chemicals of biological material of any kind.

To avoid breaking the microscope in between uses, fellow users recommend that you use both your hands when transferring it from one place to another. It is best that you place a hand underneath it and the other one on top of it.

Plus, it is advisable that you do not touch the lens of the microscope with bare hands as this might lead to the damaging of the device itself. Additionally, when using a microscope, it is crucial that you do not use direct sunlight as a light source. If you do so, you risk serious eye damage according to the experts.

Finally, it is crucial that you handle the slides with extra caution in order to prevent the risk of cuts and/or contamination.

 

 

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If you are looking to learn how to use your new portable digital microscope to examine all kinds of parasites, you have come to the right place. In the informative article below we will show you all that you need to know to get started and then you may take a quick look for more info here about how you can use your iPhone as a microscope.

 

 

What is a parasite?

A parasite in an organism that lives on or within a host. The host in this situation is another living organism. Once attached to the host, the parasite will use the resources of the other organism to fuel its own life cycle. The types and size of parasites vary widely, but around 70% of them are not visible to the human eyes such as the malarial parasite.

There are also some parasites that will not require a microscope to see such as worm parasites that can reach close to over 30 meters in length. While parasites are not a disease, they are more than capable of spreading them, and each one can have its own unique effects.

There are three main types of parasites that you can study: protozoa, helminths, and ectoparasites. Examples of protozoa include Plasmodium, which is a single-celled organism. What’s unique about protozoa parasites is that they need a host in order to multiply or divide.

Helminths are also known as worm parasites and some examples of these include the roundworm, tapeworm, Trichinella spiralis, pinworm, and fluke. You won’t always need a microscope to reveal these parasites since a few of them tend to grow large enough to be visible with the naked eye, but close inspection will indeed require proper instruments.

Finally, we have the ectoparasites which don’t live in their hosts, but rather on them. Some good examples include fleas, lice, and ticks. While they too can be observed with the naked eye, it is only through a microscope that you can see a detailed image of them.

 

Protozoa parasites

The malaria parasite is a unicellular parasite that is spread by the female Anopheles mosquitoes, and a good example of protozoa. Once in the body, the parasite will infect the red cells where it will thrive and pose a significant health risk to infants and pregnant women.

If you have access to a positive slide to view under the microscope, it is very easy to reveal the parasite inside the red cells but also outside of them. To reveal it, you will need a compound microscope, clean microscope glass slips, clean microscopes slides, immersion oil, and a Giemsa-stained blood film.

Giemsa stain is composed of basic and acidic parts, which will cause the nucleic parts of the parasite which is acidic to appear purple when staining the smear. While the nucleic parts will appear purple, the background will appear to be blue since it is acidophilic. That should make it very easy for you to observe the malaria parasite.

When using Giemsa stain, you will need to cover the slide with a thin smear of 10% Giemsa stain and let it stand for about 30 minutes. You can then wash the slide with distilled water and drain the excess water with blotting paper and allow it to dry. You are now free to examine it under the microscope.

As always, you will need to be extra careful when dealing with blood. Make sure you always use a clean pair of gloves and dispose of needles and any other material used or contaminated with blood so as to avoid injury or infection.

 

Helminth parasites

If you want to observe a helminth parasite under the microscope, you will need to use the Kato-Katz technique. This technique is purposefully designed to help you detect and determine the number of helminth eggs in a sample of feces.

For this, you will need to get your hands on a standard Kato-Katz template, a spatula, an aluminum foil, a wire mesh, clean glass slides, and cellophane that was soaked in methylene blue for around 24 hours.

The procedure is not very complicated. You will need to position the Kato-Katz template on the clean microscope slide you have prepared and use the gloves and a spatula to pick up about 2 grams of the feces you have available and place them onto the aluminum foil.

You then need to press the wire mesh on the top of the sample to sieve it and use another spatula to rake the sieved material off until it can fill the hole in the template. Then remove the template gently so that the sample can stay on the slide. You can now place the piece of cellophane over the sample.

With the help of another slide, spread the smear until you have obtained a thick layer that is distributed evenly and leave it for about 40 minutes. Once the 40 minutes have passed, you can view and examine the number of eggs present in the sample.

 

 

Ectoparasites

Fleas are one of the ectoparasites that you can safely examine using a microscope. You may want to start with a non-parasitic species first, such as a water flea. To observe a water flea, you will need a stereomicroscope, glass slides with pre-prepared electrical tape chamber, paper towels, coverslips, a dropper, a petri dish, and a sample of Daphnia pulex (water flea).

With the use of a dropper, you must begin by sucking some water from a container that has pond water containing daphnia and place a drop on the sample on a microscope slide with the tape chamber.

Now, lay a cover slip gently on the sample so as to avoid pressing too much which can kill the Daphnia (if you want to see a live sample). Finally, place the sample under the microscope and observe it using 4x and 10x.

If you want to observe a body flea, the process is even more straightforward, and you will simply need to pick the flea using a pair of tweezers and place it on a stereomicroscope.

 

 

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While you may use an iPhone microscope to observe things such as hair, bugs, and specs of dust, if you want to see objects that are millions of times smaller such as bacteria, molecules, and viruses, you will need an electron microscope.

In the informative article below we will explore this extraordinary instrument, and afterward, you can also read some of our other articles if you want to look for more information about the types of microscopes you can purchase for yourself or for your kids.

What is an electron microscope?

When our eyes see the objects in the world around us, they do so because of light rays, be it from the Sun or from another artificial or natural light source, like a lamp or a candle. The classic microscope sees using these particles of light, known as photons, too, and it works great as long as the objects you are observing are large enough.

Things get tricky when you wish to observe things that are smaller since in that situation using photons to observe things can be quite difficult, and gives you pictures that are clumsy and often times useless.

The photons of light that an ordinary light microscope uses are equivalent to a wavelength of around 400-700 nanometers. This is more than enough for studying the human hair, bugs, or a spec of dust which can be hundreds of times bigger than the wavelength of the microscope.

Bacteria, on the other hand, is around 200 nanometers across, and a protein can be as small as 10 nanometers long. To examine these specimens you will need an instrument that can use particles that have an even shorter wavelength, and the perfect tools for this job are the electrons.

As you’ve probably learned in school, electrons are the minute charged particles that can be found in the outer regions of atoms. An electron microscope, as you can probably already deduce from its name, uses a stream of electrons instead of a beam of light.

What makes an electron microscope so powerful is the fact that unlike an ordinary light microscope, its wavelength is hundreds of times shorter at just over 1 nanometer. This allows this nifty instrument to see objects that are, as crazy as it may seem, smaller than even light itself.

 

How does an electron microscope work?

Even though this instrument is much more advanced, if you’ve used a classic microscope before, the idea behind it is very similar and you will find it quite easy to understand how the whole thing works.

With an ordinary microscope, there are four important parts: the source of light, the specimen, the lenses that help make the specimen appear bigger, and the final magnified image of the specimen that you end up seeing.

With an electron microscope, there are still four steps involved but they are just slightly different. First, the light source is now replaced by a beam of fast-moving electrons. Then, the specimen will need to be prepared specially and held inside a vacuum chamber since electrons can’t travel very far in air.

There are no lenses present in an electron microscope, as these are replaced by a series of coil-shaped electromagnets. The electrons will travel through these electromagnets, and the coils in the electromagnets will bend electron beams just as the glass lenses bend the light beams that pass through them to produce magnification. In this sense, they work very similarly.

Finally, the end result is produced as a photograph, also known as an electron micrograph, or most commonly, as an image that you can observe on the screen of a computer monitor or TV.

 

The two types of electron microscopes

If you want to learn even more about this device, you should know that there are currently two different types of electron microscopes and even though they both work using the same basic concept, they offer different results and are used for different applications.

First, we have the Transmission Electron Microscope, also known as TEM, which is the original form of this instrument as it was developed in 1931. It has the most in common with an optical microscope. The TEM fires a beam of electrons through a specimen and that helps it produce the magnified image of the object

The TEM requires a very thick solid as a detector and its resolution is usually about 1 nanometer. Furthermore, high voltage and antivibration TEMs are so powerful that they can even resolute individual atoms.

The other type is the Scanning Electron Microscope, SEM, which has a resolution of around 2 nanometers. Unlike a TEM, an SEM will scan a beam of electrons over a specimen in order to produce the magnified image of the object. Thus, the beam of electrons won’t go right through the specimen.

SEMs are used to make images of the surfaces of tiny objects. This is why most of the electron microscope images you can see in books such as wasps holding microchips in their mouths and what not, are made using SEMs.

 

 

Where are electron microscopes used?

Electronic microscopes are most commonly used in universities, research laboratories, and nanotechnology centers but the way that this instrument can be used is quite varied. Apart from the many scientific discoveries this nifty instrument can help uncover, it can also be used in industry, forensic science, and natural resources.

For industrial purposes, the electron microscope can help in developing new products by providing high-resolution images for the developing and manufacturing of small electronics such as semiconductors.

Perhaps the most exciting application for the average person is in forensic science where an electron microscope can be used to analyze clothing fibers, blood, biological substances and even the residues from a gunshot.

Electron microscopes can also be used to analyze and characterize organic materials, which is very important especially for mining companies since it lets them see objective, automated and quantitative information about the environment very fast.

 

 

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In our recent article, we have learned how to choose the right microscope for kids that will help your little one learn more about the world that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Your child might have increased interest in science and biology and a good microscope could definitely help him/her satisfy all his/her curiosities.

Furthermore, your little one might want to learn more about certain external factors that can affect our health, and if so, in this article, you will find many interesting things about Bacillus anthracis. If we captured your attention, you should read more to gain all the necessary information that will offer you a better understanding of how dangerous this bacterium is.

Bacterial infection

Bacillus anthracis is the bacterium that causes anthrax and even if it is mostly known to cause a bacterial infection in livestock, there are situations when it can also affect humans. Also, its spores can contaminate the soil in many parts of the world. The name comes from the Greek word for coal, anthrax, because once infected the victim will experience black, coal-like, cutaneous eschars.

Besides being found in soil, spores also thrive in animal carcasses, feces, and animal products such as wool and hides. There are various animals such as cats, dogs, rats, and swine that are very resistant to anthrax. Another interesting aspect about this bacterium which makes it a bit different than many bacteria is that its spores can stay inactive in the soil for decades.

Anthrax spores can be compared to eggs as they can hatch under special conditions and they will germinate into active bacteria. That is why the spores are not very dangerous and they are not able to cause too much of a damage to tissue. But, as soon as they get into the body, they will start to transform into harmful disease-causing bacteria.

The bacterial infection has been discovered in 1850 by a German physician named Robert Koch and it is believed to be the first bacterium that was able to cause disease. The scientist managed to grow the anthrax bacteria in culture plates and then injected them into animals and he could prove that the animals got sick.

Later, the French scientist Louis Pasteur, who is mostly known for pasteurizing milk, had the idea to use damaged anthrax bacteria to develop a vaccine for anthrax. His experiment was a success and he was able to show that the vaccine can protect the animals from getting the disease.

How people are affected

It is easy to imagine that people will get infected with anthrax if the spores will manage to enter their bodies. As we have already mentioned, the spores will become active and this is when they become anthrax bacteria. Also, it is very important to know that the bacteria can multiply and can spread inside the body when they start producing toxins that can lead to severe illness.

If you were wondering how the spores manage to enter a human’s body, you should know that they can be inhaled when people breathe them in. When an individual breathes the spores, they will end up in the lungs and they will start germinating there and cause inhalation anthrax. It is believed that the most deadly form of infection is the pulmonary one.

When the spores are inhaled, the victim will start experiencing hemorrhagic pneumonia along with associated pleural effusion. Moreover, the organisms are able to travel inside the body and they will spread to the lymph nodes where they will produce hemorrhagic mediastinitis. The next symptoms are bacteremia, toxic shock, and in many cases, death.

Another type of anthrax is the gastrointestinal one that occurs when people drink water or eat food that is contaminated with spores. Also, if a person has a cut or a scrape on the skin, the spores will be able to enter those areas and will start germinating there and cause cutaneous anthrax.

Cutaneous penetration starts with a necrotic eschar that will extend to blood vessels very fast which will lead to bacteremia, sepsis, meningitis, and death. Also, it is considered the most common form of anthrax that accounts for over 90% of all human cases. Another type of anthrax that has been discovered recently is injection anthrax present among people injecting heroin.

 

Bioterrorism

A very interesting aspect of Bacillus anthracis is that its spores can be used in bioterrorism. Bioterrorism is a form of terrorism when certain bacteria, viruses, or other germs are used, in order to harm people. For that reason, most people also refer to it as germ warfare, as the name is more intuitive and easier to understand.

We are all familiar with the definition of terrorism released by the US government, which is the unlawful use of force and violence against other people and their property for intimidation or coercion in order to achieve certain social or political objectives or goals. When we say terrorism we don’t have a particular weapon in mind that is being used.

That is why the name will change into bioterrorism in order to make a clear distinction regarding the type of weapons that are being utilized. The reason why terrorists choose to use a biological agent to harm people is to scare them and to make them believe that the government is not strong enough to protect them.

Bacillus anthracis has gained plenty of attention because the terrorists can access its spores quite easily, and that is why it is considered the most likely agents to be used in a biological attack. Besides being able to produce anthrax spores in a lab, they can also be found in nature. The scariest part is that they are able to last for a very long time in the environment.

Even though Bacillus anthracis is susceptible to common antibiotics, in the recent decade many scientists started to worry over the potential existence of anthrax that is weaponized and resistant to antibiotics. That is why extensive planning has been prompted in order to avoid any potential terrorist attacks.

Anthrax vaccine

It is extremely important to know that there is a vaccine to prevent anthrax. However, the vaccine is not available for the general public and only certain US military personnel or laboratory workers have access to it.

Other individuals who may get the vaccine are those who work with animals or animal products or anyone who presents an increased risk of getting infected with the bacterium. Even if this vaccine works well, it cannot prevent all cases – if the people are vaccinated before the exposure to the bacteria, the study showed that the vaccine will manage to protect 9 out of 10.

Also, not anyone can get this vaccine as it depends on age and health conditions, and that is why it is always recommended to discuss with your healthcare professional and ask for more information. Moreover, individuals who had to take a dose of the anthrax vaccine in the past and have had severe allergic reactions will not be able to get another dose.

The same goes for those people who have certain allergies to any vaccine component – they don’t qualify for the vaccine. In the US there is only one type of anthrax vaccine, BioThrax which is only given to individuals that are 18 to 65 years old in combination with antibiotics.

 

 

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Choosing the right dissecting microscope might be a bit challenging as there is a wide selection of models and styles available on the market. Even if all of them function using the same principles, you need to be careful when purchasing your own as there are many differences between one model and the next.

We are always eager to know more about the world around us, and that is why learning what yeast is and how it affects our bodies will definitely make us see certain things differently. Yeast is not only used to make bread or to brew beer, but we also have it in our bodies! If we have made you curious, you should keep on reading as you will find lots of exciting information.

What is yeast?

Many people know that yeast is used to make bread – this is the first thing that comes into our mind every time we mention this fungus. Yes, yeast is a fungus! Furthermore, yeast can be of various kinds and each of them has its own role in our lives. While we use a type of yeast to make bread, we use another one to brew beer.

Also, there is this yeast that is called candida and it lives inside our bodies, and we need to be careful because sometimes if it grows out of control it can cause an infection. There are many areas of our bodies where yeast infections can occur including the skin, mouth, feet, mouth, vagina, or penis.

Keeping our immune system strong is extremely important in order to avoid getting one of the infections mentioned above. Also, you should be aware that yeast is good for our body if it is consumed in small quantities. Foods that are rich in yeast also offer multiple proteins and B vitamins which will help us keep our digestive system healthy.

Besides helping you absorb minerals and vitamins from various foods, there are situations when yeast can help you fight certain diseases. Whereas, if you consume too much you might experience health issues or infections. That is why you need to pay attention to those factors that will increase the quantity of yeast in your body.

Antibiotics, for example, if they are taken too often, will encourage your body to grow too much yeast; and the same goes with oral birth control – it will stimulate the growth of yeast. Some symptoms that will let you know if the amount of yeast in your body is too high are mouth sores, bloating, gas, bad breath, itchy rashes, or a coating on your tongue.

Also, when your immune system is weak, yeast can overgrow in your body and will affect your health. That is why those people whose immune system is not strong enough will most likely experience a yeast infection. Babies and older people are among them, as well as people that have various diseases like diabetes or HIV infection.

 

Candida

There are many types of fungi that live in and on our bodies, and among them, we can remember the genus of yeasts known as Candida. This fungus is found in small amounts in the mouth and on the skin in various areas of the body. If it stays within normal levels, candida is harmless but when it starts to grow out of control, it can cause candidiasis – a very common infection.

To understand how dangerous yeast can be, you should know that Candida is the most common cause of fungal infections in humans. As we have mentioned earlier, yeast can be found in our mouth which means that candidiasis can develop in the mouth or even in our throat and it is known as thrush – most common among people with a weak immune system.

Also, if someone doesn’t have good oral hygiene or they have dentures that can be removed, there are chances for a yeast infection to occur, more exactly “thrush”. There are certain signs that individuals might notice if they suffer from oral thrush and among the most common we can remember the white and bumpy patches on their tongues, as well as on their gums or tonsils.

The symptoms are quite noticeable and it is almost impossible for the ill person to notice them because most of the times the patches are painful and they will even bleed if they are scraped. Also, in most cases, the individuals will be able to observe their tongue or mouth become red. There are certain situations when people might experience difficulty when swallowing.

Moreover, the number one symptom that most people experience is increased tiredness because candidiasis is often accompanied by nutritional deficiencies. Because candida is present in the vaginal tract of most women when the yeast grows uncontrollably the individuals might experience a yeast infection also known as candidiasis of the vagina.

That is why if you notice that your vagina burns or itches, you should know that these are signs that can be associated with a yeast infection. Also, some women reported pain or discomfort when they peed or had sex. Moreover, yeast can also cause certain allergies as there are people who are allergic to it in various foods such as bread, vinegar, or beer.

What foods contain yeast?

There are various types of foods that will stimulate the growth of yeast in your body, and that is why you should know which those products that can put your health at risk are. Moreover, there are certain beverages that will manage to do the same thing, and it is good to know which ones they are in order to prevent an overgrowth of yeast in your body.

It is easy to imagine that foods such as muffins, pizza, cakes, bread, and pretzels contain yeast as they are made of dough which is a breeding ground for yeast. Also, there are those fermented products like pickles or certain salad dressings that should be eaten with caution as they contain yeast.

Alcoholic beverages are also on the list, especially wine and beer – no matter how much we like them, their consumptions should be limited because of their yeast component. Moreover, if you are among those people who cannot say no to sugar, you should start opting for a healthy lifestyle because candies or soft drinks will stimulate the growth of yeast in your body.

Although fruits are very healthy and they are recommended to be part of our day-to-day diet, there are some of them such as watermelon and honeydew that shouldn’t be consumed in large quantities as they have a high content of yeast. The same goes with vegetables, certain legumes like squash, potatoes, and beets – these should be eaten in moderation.

You should always stay away from cheese or milk products especially if you have lactose intolerance because your body may lose its ability to fight excess yeast, and we know how dangerous this can be for our health. Artificial sweeteners such as maple syrup or honey as well as starchy foods like corn or potato are high in sugar and they act as food for yeast.

 

 

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If you are in search of a quality and portable microscope, this article here is packed with all the info that you have to know about the topic. In this short guide, we are here to talk to you about different ways to prepare a microscope slide.

A wet mount

To mount a wet mount slide, you will need to use slides, coverslips, water, toothpicks, scissors, a razor blade, clear nail polish, and a microscope.

To start, you have to place a drop of water or a drop of clear nail polish on a new or clean slide. If the subject that you want to view is liquid (for example soapy water or pond water), or liquid food (honey or yogurt) the specialists argue that there is no need for you to use water. Instead, you just have to place the liquid material on the slide.

Then, use a toothpick or a forceps (if you have one) to gather the material (provided that it is non-liquid). Next, transfer the material onto the water or the polish drop from the slide. If you have to, you can use the forceps/toothpick to gently dislodge the materials.

Now you have to lower a coverslip and to place it onto the slide. Finally, you can examine the slide under the microscope and you can take the time to record your findings. From this point of view, it should be said that using a special journal might come in handy. Some users also point out that taking pictures of the observed slides might also be helpful.

If you leave it intact, a slide that was prepared using nail polish is semi-permanent. The slides prepared using water are temporary. You can wash them and then you can leave them to dry. They can be reused as often as possible.

Normally, wet mounts are utilized when examining living samples such as aquatic or transparent ones. If the organisms that you are trying to view are moving too quickly, you can add a drop of a solution called Proto Slow. The substance has to be added before you place the coverslip on. This product can be purchased online or from specialized retailers.

Because, as the liquid evaporates from the slide, there is a chance that the organisms on it might die, the specialists recommend that you use a toothpick to gently coat the edges of the coverslip with petroleum jelly. You should do so before you place the coverslip on. To seal the slide, it is best that you press gently onto the coverslip.

 

A dry mount

As fellow microscope users say, dry mounts are easier to prepare. To do so, you will need slides and coverslips, scissors, toothpicks or forceps, razor blades and clear nail polish (optional).

As expected, you have to start by using the forceps or the toothpicks to gather the dry material that you intend to examine under the microscope. Then, you have to place the material on the slide. Finally, simply add a coverslip over the slide.

To hold the specimen in place, you can always use a concavity slide. Plus, you can also transform it into a semi-permanent slide by adding a drop of clear nail polish onto it. Once you are all done, you can get to work and start examining the slide under high or low power.

Once again, you can now take pictures of the material that you are observing and you can make minute notations in your journal.

How to stain slides

As the experts assert, there are numerous ways in which a person can stain a slide. Staining slides is necessary in order to make it easier for one to see details that, otherwise, might not be visible. The simplest way to make a stain is by utilizing methylene blue, iodine or crystal violet. You can use these substances when preparing both wet and dry mounts.

To start, you have to prepare a dry or a wet slide, in accordance with your preference. Add the coverslip as well. Next, place a small drop of methylene blue, iodine or crystal violet on the edge of the coverslip.

You then have to put the edge of a paper towel or of tissue on the opposite part of the coverslip. According to the specialists, capillary action will actually pull the dye across the slide and the specimen will be stained.

 

What objects can one examine under the microscope

If you are out of inspiration, and you do not know what objects you can examine next under the microscope, we have gathered a couple of suggestions that you might want to try.

If you want to prepare a dry slide, you should consider using sugar, powder detergent, salt, mold from food, thin slices of vegetables or fruit and even pet and human hair. On top of that, some also recommend analyzing garden soil and even dust!

In the case of wet slides, you can always take the time to analyze yogurt, pound water, wet soil, tooth plaque or even cheek cells. If you have plenty of time on your hands, as well as a stereo microscope, you can examine a dollar bill, newspaper clippings, flower petals, butterflies and postage stamps.

 

Yogurt bacteria

If you want to examine bacteria cultures under the microscope, you can do so by utilizing yogurt. To do so, you will need glass slides, toothpicks, yogurt, plastic slips and Methylene blue (optional).

You have to start by taking a small drop of yogurt by using the toothpick. Next, smear it for two to three seconds on the slide. Then, place a small drop of methylene blue on the slide. This step is entirely optional.

Finally, place a coverslip over the slide and remove the excess solution from around the coverslip. You can use a paper towel to do this efficiently. Once you are done, you can view the slide under the microscope at 4x or 10x. While you do so, remember that bacteria will appear small, no matter how high the magnification is.

Safety precautions

When it comes to preparing a microscope slide, there are a couple of safety measures that you should keep in mind. To start, you have to wear the necessary protective clothing. You have to put the clothing on before you actually start using the microscope.

By protective clothing, we are referring to safety glasses, disposable gloves, and a lab coat. This is particularly important if you are handling dangerous chemicals of biological material of any kind.

To avoid breaking the microscope in between uses, fellow users recommend that you use both your hands when transferring it from one place to another. It is best that you place a hand underneath it and the other one on top of it.

Plus, it is advisable that you do not touch the lens of the microscope with bare hands as this might lead to the damaging of the device itself. Additionally, when using a microscope, it is crucial that you do not use direct sunlight as a light source. If you do so, you risk serious eye damage according to the experts.

Finally, it is crucial that you handle the slides with extra caution in order to prevent the risk of cuts and/or contamination.

 

 

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If you are looking to learn how to use your new portable digital microscope to examine all kinds of parasites, you have come to the right place. In the informative article below we will show you all that you need to know to get started and then you may take a quick look for more info here about how you can use your iPhone as a microscope.

 

 

What is a parasite?

A parasite in an organism that lives on or within a host. The host in this situation is another living organism. Once attached to the host, the parasite will use the resources of the other organism to fuel its own life cycle. The types and size of parasites vary widely, but around 70% of them are not visible to the human eyes such as the malarial parasite.

There are also some parasites that will not require a microscope to see such as worm parasites that can reach close to over 30 meters in length. While parasites are not a disease, they are more than capable of spreading them, and each one can have its own unique effects.

There are three main types of parasites that you can study: protozoa, helminths, and ectoparasites. Examples of protozoa include Plasmodium, which is a single-celled organism. What’s unique about protozoa parasites is that they need a host in order to multiply or divide.

Helminths are also known as worm parasites and some examples of these include the roundworm, tapeworm, Trichinella spiralis, pinworm, and fluke. You won’t always need a microscope to reveal these parasites since a few of them tend to grow large enough to be visible with the naked eye, but close inspection will indeed require proper instruments.

Finally, we have the ectoparasites which don’t live in their hosts, but rather on them. Some good examples include fleas, lice, and ticks. While they too can be observed with the naked eye, it is only through a microscope that you can see a detailed image of them.

 

Protozoa parasites

The malaria parasite is a unicellular parasite that is spread by the female Anopheles mosquitoes, and a good example of protozoa. Once in the body, the parasite will infect the red cells where it will thrive and pose a significant health risk to infants and pregnant women.

If you have access to a positive slide to view under the microscope, it is very easy to reveal the parasite inside the red cells but also outside of them. To reveal it, you will need a compound microscope, clean microscope glass slips, clean microscopes slides, immersion oil, and a Giemsa-stained blood film.

Giemsa stain is composed of basic and acidic parts, which will cause the nucleic parts of the parasite which is acidic to appear purple when staining the smear. While the nucleic parts will appear purple, the background will appear to be blue since it is acidophilic. That should make it very easy for you to observe the malaria parasite.

When using Giemsa stain, you will need to cover the slide with a thin smear of 10% Giemsa stain and let it stand for about 30 minutes. You can then wash the slide with distilled water and drain the excess water with blotting paper and allow it to dry. You are now free to examine it under the microscope.

As always, you will need to be extra careful when dealing with blood. Make sure you always use a clean pair of gloves and dispose of needles and any other material used or contaminated with blood so as to avoid injury or infection.

 

Helminth parasites

If you want to observe a helminth parasite under the microscope, you will need to use the Kato-Katz technique. This technique is purposefully designed to help you detect and determine the number of helminth eggs in a sample of feces.

For this, you will need to get your hands on a standard Kato-Katz template, a spatula, an aluminum foil, a wire mesh, clean glass slides, and cellophane that was soaked in methylene blue for around 24 hours.

The procedure is not very complicated. You will need to position the Kato-Katz template on the clean microscope slide you have prepared and use the gloves and a spatula to pick up about 2 grams of the feces you have available and place them onto the aluminum foil.

You then need to press the wire mesh on the top of the sample to sieve it and use another spatula to rake the sieved material off until it can fill the hole in the template. Then remove the template gently so that the sample can stay on the slide. You can now place the piece of cellophane over the sample.

With the help of another slide, spread the smear until you have obtained a thick layer that is distributed evenly and leave it for about 40 minutes. Once the 40 minutes have passed, you can view and examine the number of eggs present in the sample.

 

 

Ectoparasites

Fleas are one of the ectoparasites that you can safely examine using a microscope. You may want to start with a non-parasitic species first, such as a water flea. To observe a water flea, you will need a stereomicroscope, glass slides with pre-prepared electrical tape chamber, paper towels, coverslips, a dropper, a petri dish, and a sample of Daphnia pulex (water flea).

With the use of a dropper, you must begin by sucking some water from a container that has pond water containing daphnia and place a drop on the sample on a microscope slide with the tape chamber.

Now, lay a cover slip gently on the sample so as to avoid pressing too much which can kill the Daphnia (if you want to see a live sample). Finally, place the sample under the microscope and observe it using 4x and 10x.

If you want to observe a body flea, the process is even more straightforward, and you will simply need to pick the flea using a pair of tweezers and place it on a stereomicroscope.

 

 

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While you may use an iPhone microscope to observe things such as hair, bugs, and specs of dust, if you want to see objects that are millions of times smaller such as bacteria, molecules, and viruses, you will need an electron microscope.

In the informative article below we will explore this extraordinary instrument, and afterward, you can also read some of our other articles if you want to look for more information about the types of microscopes you can purchase for yourself or for your kids.

What is an electron microscope?

When our eyes see the objects in the world around us, they do so because of light rays, be it from the Sun or from another artificial or natural light source, like a lamp or a candle. The classic microscope sees using these particles of light, known as photons, too, and it works great as long as the objects you are observing are large enough.

Things get tricky when you wish to observe things that are smaller since in that situation using photons to observe things can be quite difficult, and gives you pictures that are clumsy and often times useless.

The photons of light that an ordinary light microscope uses are equivalent to a wavelength of around 400-700 nanometers. This is more than enough for studying the human hair, bugs, or a spec of dust which can be hundreds of times bigger than the wavelength of the microscope.

Bacteria, on the other hand, is around 200 nanometers across, and a protein can be as small as 10 nanometers long. To examine these specimens you will need an instrument that can use particles that have an even shorter wavelength, and the perfect tools for this job are the electrons.

As you’ve probably learned in school, electrons are the minute charged particles that can be found in the outer regions of atoms. An electron microscope, as you can probably already deduce from its name, uses a stream of electrons instead of a beam of light.

What makes an electron microscope so powerful is the fact that unlike an ordinary light microscope, its wavelength is hundreds of times shorter at just over 1 nanometer. This allows this nifty instrument to see objects that are, as crazy as it may seem, smaller than even light itself.

 

How does an electron microscope work?

Even though this instrument is much more advanced, if you’ve used a classic microscope before, the idea behind it is very similar and you will find it quite easy to understand how the whole thing works.

With an ordinary microscope, there are four important parts: the source of light, the specimen, the lenses that help make the specimen appear bigger, and the final magnified image of the specimen that you end up seeing.

With an electron microscope, there are still four steps involved but they are just slightly different. First, the light source is now replaced by a beam of fast-moving electrons. Then, the specimen will need to be prepared specially and held inside a vacuum chamber since electrons can’t travel very far in air.

There are no lenses present in an electron microscope, as these are replaced by a series of coil-shaped electromagnets. The electrons will travel through these electromagnets, and the coils in the electromagnets will bend electron beams just as the glass lenses bend the light beams that pass through them to produce magnification. In this sense, they work very similarly.

Finally, the end result is produced as a photograph, also known as an electron micrograph, or most commonly, as an image that you can observe on the screen of a computer monitor or TV.

 

The two types of electron microscopes

If you want to learn even more about this device, you should know that there are currently two different types of electron microscopes and even though they both work using the same basic concept, they offer different results and are used for different applications.

First, we have the Transmission Electron Microscope, also known as TEM, which is the original form of this instrument as it was developed in 1931. It has the most in common with an optical microscope. The TEM fires a beam of electrons through a specimen and that helps it produce the magnified image of the object

The TEM requires a very thick solid as a detector and its resolution is usually about 1 nanometer. Furthermore, high voltage and antivibration TEMs are so powerful that they can even resolute individual atoms.

The other type is the Scanning Electron Microscope, SEM, which has a resolution of around 2 nanometers. Unlike a TEM, an SEM will scan a beam of electrons over a specimen in order to produce the magnified image of the object. Thus, the beam of electrons won’t go right through the specimen.

SEMs are used to make images of the surfaces of tiny objects. This is why most of the electron microscope images you can see in books such as wasps holding microchips in their mouths and what not, are made using SEMs.

 

 

Where are electron microscopes used?

Electronic microscopes are most commonly used in universities, research laboratories, and nanotechnology centers but the way that this instrument can be used is quite varied. Apart from the many scientific discoveries this nifty instrument can help uncover, it can also be used in industry, forensic science, and natural resources.

For industrial purposes, the electron microscope can help in developing new products by providing high-resolution images for the developing and manufacturing of small electronics such as semiconductors.

Perhaps the most exciting application for the average person is in forensic science where an electron microscope can be used to analyze clothing fibers, blood, biological substances and even the residues from a gunshot.

Electron microscopes can also be used to analyze and characterize organic materials, which is very important especially for mining companies since it lets them see objective, automated and quantitative information about the environment very fast.

 

 

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