Levels of Organization Image Map

Electron Microscope Image of One MitochondriaMitochondria, plural for mitochondrion, are the  organelles that cells use as their energy factories. Think of them as the cell's way of recharging its battery.

What is the structure of a mitochondria?

A mitochondrion is an oval bags that is filled with membranes. Mitochondria are so small that you can only see them with the high-power magnification of an electron micrograph.

How do we know that mitochondria are membrane-filled bags?

Look at the picture. The membranes are clear, but the space between membranes is fuzzy and without form. Much of this faint background material is chemicals and water.

Think about this picture in three dimensions. Pictures like this are made from very thin slices of cells. If you made a series of thin slices and took their pictures at different depths and reconstructed all the pictures into one, what do you think the three-dimensional structure would be like? ... a membrane-filled bag, right?

Why do you think mitochondria have all of those membranes?


Next PagePrevious Page

Introduction | Why It Matters | How We Find Out | What We Know | Story Time
Common Hazards | Activities | Self-Study Game | Teachers Pages | Standards (TEKS)

Peer Curriculum | Cell Biology Home Page | Communication Exercises
Copyright 2001-2003
Web Site Privacy Statement