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Pollen Prevails as JEOL Names Spring Image Contest Winners

Pollen season 2015 has been one of the worst, but also produced two of the best micrographs that recently won the monthly JEOL Electron Microscope Contest held for the second year in a row. 

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hibiscus pollenJEOL's Image Contest Winner for April 2015, an SEM image of hibiscus pollen, was submitted by Howard Berg of the Danforth Plant Science Center. It was taken with a JEOL JSM-6010 InTouchScope SEM.Image credit: Howard BergApril's winning image of hibiscus pollen grains was submitted by Dr. Howard Berg of Danforth Plant Science in St. Louis, MO, who used the JEOL JSM-6010 InTouchScope Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) to image the sample at high magnification, then Photoshop to create an embossed effect. He notes,  "SEM is perfect for imaging the elaborate wall of the pollen grain, known as the exine. Each species has its distinct pattern of exine and this is used in palynology, the science of pollen species identification. Palynology is used in forensics, study of the fossil record, and in producing your local allergy report. The exine in pollen of some species forms spikes or similar ornamentation that tempts one to think that it is these that irritate our respiratory tract during allergy season, but it is the molecular composition of the pollen wall that is the source of the allergic reaction." 

The image selected for May is one of a single grain of pollen from a Morning Glory flower, taken by  Stefan Eberhard, Research Professional at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, The University of Georgia. He also used a JSM-6010 InTouchScope SEM and colorized the image in Photoshop.  "Whenever I have to capture images, by a light microscope or by the electron microscope, I always try to produce a visually pleasing image," he says. "I like to explore the beauty of art within science, and share these images with a wider audience who does not have access to such wonderful tools. Many of my images have been used at UGA to illustrate general research publications." 

The JEOL image contest is ongoing through 2015 and users of JEOL Electron Microscopes (SEM, TEM, and EPMA) are invited to submit entries. JEOL selects a winning image each month and a Grand Prize winner in TEM and SEM at the end of the year. For details on the JEOL image contest or to see the gallery of images for 2014 and 2015, visit

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