Scanning Microscopy


The object of the work was to assess the advantages of examining fungal material in the scanning electron microscope whilst in a fully hydrated state (cryofixed). The results indicated that conidia of the ascomycete fungi Xylaria hypoxylon and Nectria cinnabarina were well preserved with no indication of artifacts of contraction and wrinkling, features noted when the material was critical point-dried. Similarly cryofixed basidia of the mycorrhizal basidiomycete, Laccaria laccata, were well preserved as was the mucilaginous film enveloping them. The basidiospores of critical point-dried material were also reasonably well preserved, presumably due to their thick walls, but basidia in such material had a wrinkled appearance, as did the mucilage film which survived the effects of the chemical fixatives and dehydrating solvents.

The conclusion is that cryofixing is a desirable, rapid technique for microbiological specimens and excludes the potentially adverse effects of chemical fixatives and dehydrating agents.

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