Microscopy Primer
Light and Color
Microscope Basics
Special Techniques
Digital Imaging
Confocal Microscopy
Live-Cell Imaging
Photomicrography
Microscopy Museum
Virtual Microscopy
Fluorescence
Web Resources
License Info
Image Use
Custom Photos
Partners
Site Info
Contact Us
Publications
Home

The Galleries:

Photo Gallery
Silicon Zoo
Pharmaceuticals
Chip Shots
Phytochemicals
DNA Gallery
Microscapes
Vitamins
Amino Acids
Birthstones
Religion Collection
Pesticides
BeerShots
Cocktail Collection
Screen Savers
Win Wallpaper
Mac Wallpaper
Movie Gallery

Fluorescence Digital Image Gallery

Trichina Worm

Trichina (Trichinella spiralis) is a parasitic nematode worm that causes trichinosis, a serious disease in humans and other meat-eating mammals. A member of the phylum Aschelminthes, it ranges in length from 0.06 to 0.2 inches and has a nearly worldwide distribution.

The trichina worm lives inside the small intestine of a host animal, where it mates and reproduces. Once her eggs have been fertilized, the female burrows into the intestinal wall and releases her larvae. The larvae migrate into the lymph channels of the intestine, from which they enter the bloodstream and travel to all parts of the body. When the larvae reach the skeletal muscles they burrow into the muscles and form tough cyst-like cocoons. The host secretes lime salts, which are deposited in the capsule, eventually transforming the capsule into a completely calcified cyst. The worms may live in the cyst for years until they are consumed and digested by another mammal.

Once in the stomach, the capsular coating of the larvae dissolves, and they are freed. The larvae mature quickly, in about 16 days, and mate in the small intestine of their new host. If the larvae that live in the muscle tissues aren't eaten after several years, they will die and the cyst will completely calcify.

The most common way that humans become infected with trichinosis is by eating raw or undercooked pork. People can also become infected by eating wild game, such as bear, cougar, fox, dog, wolf, horse, seal, or walrus. Within a few days, the victim becomes feverish and experiences abdominal symptoms: pain, nausea, vomiting, and watery stools. A few days later the victim may still have pains in the joints, headaches, and swelling of the face. In addition, severe pain develops in the muscles of the limbs, in the chest, and in the eyes. Breathing is often painful because the diaphragm becomes heavily infected. The illness gradually subsides after seven to 14 days, although it can be fatal for about five percent of people. As of now, there is no known specific treatment for trichinosis, but it can be prevented. Trichina cysts in meat can be destroyed completely by thoroughly cooking the meat to 170 F (77 C) or by freezing the meat for three to four weeks. Cured or smoked pork is not safe for consumption.

The specimen presented here was imaged with a Nikon Eclipse E600 microscope operating with fluorite and/or apochromatic objectives and vertical illuminator equipped with a mercury arc lamp. Specimens were illuminated through Nikon dichromatic filter blocks containing interference filters and a dichroic mirror and imaged with standard epi-fluorescence techniques. Specific filters for the trichina worm stained thin section were a B-2E/C and a Y-2E/C. Photomicrographs were captured with an Optronics MagnaFire digital camera system coupled to the microscope with a lens-free C-mount adapter.

BACK TO THE FLUORESCENCE DIGITAL IMAGE GALLERY

Questions or comments? Send us an email.
© 1998-2013 by Michael W. Davidson and The Florida State University. All Rights Reserved. No images, graphics, scripts, or applets may be reproduced or used in any manner without permission from the copyright holders. Use of this website means you agree to all of the Legal Terms and Conditions set forth by the owners.
This website is maintained by our
Graphics & Web Programming Team
in collaboration with Optical Microscopy at the
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
Last modification: Friday, Aug 01, 2003 at 10:43 AM
Access Count Since September 15, 2000: 58116
For more information on microscope manufacturers,
use the buttons below to navigate to their websites: