Study of Microorganisms Using Portable Microscopes

Our world comprises of life everywhere at the same time, it is encompassed by vast majority of dead things like the soil, water, air, dust, minerals, rocks and whatever does not have life. While the living organisms live within this sphere of non-living things, the most important of them are the “Micro-organisms”, which by the way are called “Micro” because they are really small. Small in such a way that they are not visible to our naked eyes. So how did any one find out that such a small and micro creatures exist among us?

The answer is the observation of microorganisms by Antony Van Leeuwenhoek in the year 1676. He observed the red blood cells and spermatozoa under the microscope and laid a foundation for modern day microscopy. What does the microscope do? It can be a simple apparatus with two piece of lens at both the ends of a tubular structure or it can be as complex as an Electron microscope, which can enlarge the organelles present inside a cell (A cell is a building block of almost all the living organisms). While the first one uses light as one of the factors to enlarge micro objects, the latter one uses the power of electrons to enlarge ultra-small objects such as intracellular organelles.

No matter what is our requirement, we have microscopes suitable for each of our needs. One such type is the portable microscope. The normal, conventional microscopes are called “compound microscopes” in general. They have an “eye piece” and three object pieces with varying magnifications i.e. 10X, 60X and 100X. The “X” represents the times, for example 10 X means, the object will be magnified 10 times of its size. The compound microscope has a maximum of 100X magnification, which is more than enough for the observation of several microorganisms including, fungi, bacteria, mites etc., excluding viruses. While Viruses are so small that they can be viewed only using TEM (Transmission Electron Microscopes).

One big drawback of the conventional light microscopes is that they are really huge for school students to carry and they are not portable. Furthermore the 100X of the compound microscope requires oil to reduce the refractive index of the lens. These drawbacks are limited to the big microscopes, whereas the portable microscopes are completely immune to these drawbacks. The compound ones require a regular power input for magnification, whereas the portable microscopes will have batteries as a source of power, which makes them usable during any time. The conventional ones are not suitable for field operations while the portable ones are completely helpful in field usage.

The Portable microscopes can be used to study the structure, motility, shape and some physiological activity of the microorganisms. The source of the microorganisms can be water from well, spoiled foods, plant leaves, or our own hands itself. We can observe variety microbes around us using a portable magnifier. Bacteria can be viewed using a 100x magnification and the fungi can be viewed simply using 10X magnification. The observation of microbes using portable microscopes is suitable for medical college students, doctors, micro biologists, medical lab professionals, and hobbyists.

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