Living ‘Ark’ of seeds


Deptford Pink is a rather pretty pink flower ( which is extremely rare and facing a very real risk of extinction in the wild over the next century. Conservation efforts have been recently focussing on collecting seeds from sites where the plants still occur, in the hope of creating a living ‘Ark’ of seeds at the Millennium Seedbank at Kew, from which we can re-introduce sites in the future

The seed is a rather interesting shape, and under the ioLight portable microscope you can see that the surface is covered in a curious array of raised bumps, almost like the bark on a tree!

Thanks to Dominic Price of the Species Recovery Trust for the seed and information on Deptford Pink (

ioLight stops for coffee

ioLight loves great coffee: It doesn’t get much better than Mokoko Coffee and Bakery in Bath!

Richard and Andrew stopped for coffee and a customer meeting at Mokoko opposite Bath Spa Station. The barista spotted the microscope and asked for an impromptu presentation. We soon had an ioLight microscope set up on the table outside the coffee shop with an image of Mokoko’s best freshly ground. I bet that that is the first time anyone has displayed 1 micron resolution images of arabica on a wobbly table in a busy shopping street. However, that’s what the ioLight microscope does best. We love it when someone produces an unexpected sample that we can look at and images. Much more exciting than ‘let’s take that back to the lab and see what it looks like’!

ioLight is looking for great new subjects from your town or home. Please contact us with new suggestions, particularly if they connect to current news stories. You could even write a news story for us to publish on our website!


The images show evenly sized grounds, but we spotted one smaller fine on this image. Our barista says that these small grounds can lead to a bitter flavour in the coffee. Mokoko is working hard on their grinding to ensure a good even result. This image was taken using a combination of  backside illumination to give good contrast and top illumination to show features in the top surface of the grounds.

If the coffee is anything to go by Mokoko is doing a great job. No bitter flavour there at all and a relaxing and convenient spot to sit in the sun and nibble on a croissant.

Thanks to Mokoko for the sample. A fascinating insight into the hard work of baristas.

More details on Mokoko at