Center: View of the snow-topped volcano Villarrica (2840 m), one of Chile’s most active volcanoes. It rises above the lake and town of the same name and is the westernmost of three large stratovolcanoes that trend perpendicular to the Andean chain. Among all Chilean volcanos, this may be the one best known to tourists. Volcano Villarrica is about 9 km of the resort town of Pucón (located about 850 km south of Chile’s capital, Santiago). The 18th Congress of the Latin American Association for Microbiology (ALAM), together with the 28th Chilean Congress of Microbiology and the 3rd Chilean Congress of Food Microbiology and Hygiene, were held in Pucón from 23-26 October 2006 (see article by DS Holmes and G. Mora, pp 306-308, this issue).

Upper left: Negatively stained transmission electron micrograph of Hibiscus latent ringspot virus (HLRSV) particles identified on Hibiscus cannabinus plants (kenaf). Photographed by Concepció Rúbies and Gian Franco Filippini (DISTA, University of Bologna, Italy). (Magnification, ca. 100,000×)

Upper right: Scanning electron micrograph of Helicobacter felis isolated from the gastric mucosa of a cat. The characteristic spiral morphology and periplasmic fibers are shown. Micrograph courtesy of Lucinda Thompson (presently at Stanford University, USA), made at The University of New South Wales, Australia. (Magnification, ca. 10,000×)

Lower left: Phase-contrast micrograph of the tachyzoite phase of the protist (Apicomplexan) Toxoplasma gondii. Photographed by Braúlia Costa Caetano and Óscar Bruña-Romero (Departments of Biochemistry & Immunology, and Microbiology, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil). (Magnification, ca. 10,000×)

Lower right: Conidiospores of Alternaria alternata, a fungus of the Family Dematiaceae, in which several special forms produce specific phytotoxins against the host. The toxins give the fungus high specific pathogenicity against apple and pear trees, tobacco plant and citrics. This strain was isolated and photographed by Jordi Cabrefiga (Institute of Food and Agricultural Technology, University of Girona). (Magnification, ca. 7500×)