Safe drinking water is a privilege in North America.  Though essential to good health, it is often taken for granted.  It is delivered to our homes or offices for our enjoyment with little thought given to where it originated or how it got there.  We expect water to come forth as required.  We expect water to both look and taste good.  And we

Electron Microscope image of DNA

An electron microscope catches the immune system blooming into action. A white blood cell (red) wraps itself around a mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of most cases of tuberculosis. Phagocyte, as a white blood cell is known as, comes from the Greek word phagein (to eat), and that's what the cell does, rendering the infectious cell benign.

Anthrax bacteria being swallowed by an immune system cell.

rotavirus causes severe diarrheal illness in infants and children

E. coli--part of the normal flora of the human gut. Certain strains of E. coli produce various toxins that cause illness

E. coli bacteria, SEM Caption: E. coli bacteria. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Entero Pathogenic Escherichia Coli (EPEC) bacteria (red) attached to the surface of a human epithelial cell (green). The bacteria have induced the cytoskeleton of the host cell to form 'pedestals' on which the bacteria are sitting. EPEC is a pathogenic variety of a common gut bacteria.

Malaria infected red blood cell. The cell at upper right is misshapen due to infection with a Plasmodium falciparum protozoan. This is the merozoite stage of the protozoan parasite. It invades red blood cells after the sporozoite stage is injected into the blood by an Anopheles mosquito. The merozoites replicate and destroy the red blood cell, causing haemolytic anaemia.

SARS virus particles Electron microscopy of numerous SARS virus particles (red) in a host cell. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a fatal lung disease that first appeared in China in 2002. The SARS virus is a coronavirus.

Synapse. SEM of a neuromuscular junction showing a motor neuron (orange) terminating on skeletal muscle fibers (pink).

Villi in the small intestine increase the surface area of the gut, which helps in the absorption of food. Look closely and you'll see some food stuck in one of the crevices.

Paramecium - electron micrograph

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Photograph of a white blood cell attacking a pathogen. Taken with a scanning electron microscope - Imgur

Being tiny doesn't stop viruses, bacteria, certain insects and other microscopic critters from causing all sorts of misery. But under the microscope, we can see them for what they truly are. This image, made using a scanning electron microscope, shows the free-swimming protozoan Giardia, which causes diarrhea and other symptoms when it infects the small intestine, often as a result of contaminated drinking water.

Plants seen in the Scanning Electron Microscope. Lichen.

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Silkworm under a colour scanning electron microscope.

One of the ten finalists in the 2012 New Scientist Eureka Prize for Science Photography. This image, 'Another Day in the Life of Arabidopsis', shows a small, six-day-old seedling of Arabidopsis thaliana under a scanning electron microscope and captures the essence of seed germination, the tiny and delicate beginnings of a plant. The image has been artificially coloured to resemble the natural colours of the living seedling. Photo: Mark Talbot

Cryptosporidium protozoa