Found while pulling photos of dental school graduates from the oversize boxes in the Archives, this large exposure of what could be an alien terrain has very terrestrial origins. A combination of “microorganism and extracellular matrix,” this view consists of (mainly) “Streptococcus mutans and anaerobes” with the composition varying by location. Examples of anaerobes involved include “fusobacterium and actinobacteria” with the extracellular matrix consisting of “proteins, long chain polysaccharides and lipids.”
So what is this? According to the note on the back of the photo, it is...dental plaque!
A quick web search yielded many additional full-color photographs and anyone interested in more information should seek out the Wikipedia article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_plaque, which is also the source I used for this post.
It’s always fascinating what can be found when pulling research materials.
--Max Johnson, HC&A Student Assistant