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[Cover image of issue]

Cover photograph (Copyright © 2010, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.): Scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of a spore-forming conidiophore of the fungus Penicillium discolor, a common agent of spoilage for food products like cheese and bread. The spores, or conidia, are produced in basipetal succession from an opening of a specialized cell, the phialide. As the youngest conidium is formed, older conidia are pushed forward, creating long chains that are easily broken off by air currents to be dispersed. For the conidia to survive dessication while airborne, specific cellular characteristics are required, such as the presence of melanin in the cell wall (giving them a green appearance) and low cytoplasmic viscosity. Generally, conidia of P. discolor are 4 to 5 μm in diameter. (See related article on page 366.)

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 January; 76(1): Cover