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Answer to the Friday Whatsit for February 25, 2011

February 28, 2011

Congratulations to Kaleigh, who guessed correctly that this is crystallized salt.  More specifically, its what’s left when the experiment someone is running dries up and all that is left is the salt from the saline solution their cells were growing in.

What is it?

I ran the image through an unsharp mask image processing algorithm to increase the contrast and make for a more artistic sort of picture.

Biological systems thrive on salts.  There is a lot of salt in solution inside all of our cells, and so when growing them in a culture dish, the balance of salt outside has to be maintained or else the cells will bloat up and pop.  Osmosis anyone?

From → Friday Whatsit

  1. Mary Bankhead permalink

    I just remembered from maternity lectures in nursing school that amniotic fluid will supposedly dry to a fern-like pattern on a glass surface. Guess it has salt in it. 🙂

    • That’s cool. I suppose a lot of bodily fluids dry to a fern-like pattern on glass surfaces. Tears, urine, plasma. Although I usually avoid mixing glass and bodily fluids 🙂

  2. April permalink

    why are the crystals so round looking?

    • Unsharp mask filter. It makes suff roundy-er. And covers up the fact that the original wasn’t in great focus 🙂

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