Plastic organelle model of a mitochondrion from a cell
Inside mitochondria, glucose and oxygen react together to produce carbon dioxide and water, releasing energy, making them know as the powerhouses of cells. Their role also includes signalling to other cells. Mitochondria are found inside the cytoplasm (liquid) of a cell and are only visible under a microscope when they are stained with a colour. Different cell types have different numbers of mitochondria depending on their role in our bodies.
Physiologist Albert von Kolliker discovered mitochondria in 1857. After briefly being called bioblasts from 1886 onwards, Carl Bena renamed them mitochondria in 1898. This from the Greek for thread, 'mitos,' and granule, 'chondros' relating to their appearance.
This model, among others, was made for a Science Museum gallery called ‘Cells, Molecules and Life’ which opened in 1986 and closed in 1999. The gallery was sponsored by the Biochemical Society to celebrate their 75th anniversary.