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Author Topic: How large are blood cells and sperm?  (Read 10122 times)

tweener

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How large are blood cells and sperm?
« on: 21/04/2004 03:25:54 »
My son has a very nice microscope, which I can use if I want.  The first things that come to mind are blood cells and sperm (don't even ask why [:p]) and I was wondering what magnification would be required to see them.  

Any other suggestions for interesting (and easy) microscope targets?

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MayoFlyFarmer

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Re: How large are blood cells and sperm?
« Reply #1 on: 21/04/2004 06:49:04 »
I can't quote you a size off the top of my head, but you can see both of those types of cells on most microscopes provided that it gives you any magnification at all.  You might not neccesarily be able to see them very closely, but you will at least be able to see individual cells.  I had a really junky microscope when I was a kid and I viewed both of these, I can't remember what power the objectives were, but lets just say tehy couldn't have been much.

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chris

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Re: How large are blood cells and sperm?
« Reply #2 on: 21/04/2004 09:39:38 »
Red blood cells are about 6 microns across - that's 6 thousandths of a millimetre - but they are very easy to see.

Sperm are smaller, at about 1 micron across, but longer (length about 25 microns). However, they can easily be visualised under a light microscope. I've looked at mine !

To put that in perspective, the diameter of a capillary is about 4 microns across (half the width of a red cell) and a bacterium is about 1 micron in diameter. A human hair measures about 25 microns across.

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« Last Edit: 28/04/2004 08:46:48 by chris »

nilmot

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Re: How large are blood cells and sperm?
« Reply #3 on: 21/04/2004 12:56:04 »
When you take the samples like red blood cells. Will the shape of the cell becomes altered because of the surrounding condition? Like in electron microscope, the sample have to be dehydrated that means the shape is not exactly like it is or won't it matter much?

Tom

chris

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Re: How large are blood cells and sperm?
« Reply #4 on: 21/04/2004 23:23:34 »
No, you make a red cell 'film' on the slide by placing a drop of blood on one end of the slide and then dragging a coverslip down the glass, spreading the cells. If you just let them dry they can be coverslipped and viewed directly. Alternatively, once the slide dries you can 'fix' the cells with methanol or acetone immersion and then coverslip. This will stop the slide 'going off' and it can be kept for posterity. Fixation also has the benefit of inactivating any infectious agents which is always an important consideration when you are playing around with blood and blood products.

Chris

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tweener

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Re: How large are blood cells and sperm?
« Reply #5 on: 28/04/2004 03:24:01 »
Thanks for the info!  I just found this thread again.  I forgot about it!

The microscope my son has is a really nice light microscope.  I don't remember the magnifications, but I think the more powerful lens is a little over 400X.  He got it from his grandpa, who is a professor of plant physiology (emeritus) and had a pile of old scopes from cleaning out his lab at the university.  He refurbished one for each grandchild.  Or is planning to at least.

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chris

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Re: How large are blood cells and sperm?
« Reply #6 on: 28/04/2004 08:33:15 »
Wow, what a wonderful present. I would love a decent microscope. They are like gold dust.

Call me wierd but I can spend literally hours looking down a microscope at cells, especially nerve cells with all the fantastic branches they put out. Bacteria are amazing to watch too, particularly the motile ones that swim around. I spent a month doing microbiology before Christmas and was transfixed by candida (from a clinical swab of someone's privates !) growing and putting out germ tubes in front of my eyes...

Chris

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tweener

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Re: How large are blood cells and sperm?
« Reply #7 on: 28/04/2004 20:13:34 »
I wish I knew more about it.  I never had a decent biology course of any kind.  I look through a microscope and have no clue what I'm looking at.  More than that, I have no clue how to prepare a slide so I can see anything in the first place.  

My daughter should be getting her 'scope soon - then we'll have two in the family.  My father-in-law also promised another lens - some sort of oil immersion lens that will increase the power even further.  These are vintage instruments from the 1960s, but they work well.

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chris

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Re: How large are blood cells and sperm?
« Reply #8 on: 29/04/2004 02:20:22 »
Well, if you don't want the other one, please let me know !!

Chris

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tweener

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Re: How large are blood cells and sperm?
« Reply #9 on: 29/04/2004 03:16:36 »
LOL!

Knowing my daughter, if she thought she could trade it for a horse, she would.  She's about to sell her snake to get money for a horse, and that is really saying something.  I think she might regret letting the 'scope go later on though.

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MayoFlyFarmer

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Re: How large are blood cells and sperm?
« Reply #10 on: 29/04/2004 03:23:09 »
wow, what a nice gift.  Kind of funny I got my scopr form my grandpa when I was a kid (although not nearly as nice!!  Oil emersion lenses ARE really nice too if you have something pretty small to look at.  That means they're pretty good scopes.
I must say though, after a week of learning to do micro injection microscopes are the last thing I want to think about right now! xx(
So I'm outa this thread!

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tweener

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Re: How large are blood cells and sperm?
« Reply #11 on: 29/04/2004 16:14:39 »
Oh come and think about microscopes all the time - show your dedication!  :D

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