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    Close-up cuisine: Food under the microscope

    What does the food we eat really look like? Self-professed “science nerd” and photographer Caren Alpert captures the intricacies of everyday eats using a scanning electron microscope. From almonds to cake sprinkles and more, take a look at some of her favorite shots.

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    Close-up cuisine -

    What really makes up the food we eat? Self-professed “science nerd” and food photographer Caren Alpert wanted to capture the intricacies of everyday ingredients in her project Terra Cibus – loosely translated as “food from the earth.”

    Alpert shares some of the images with us -- we're pretty sure you wouldn't be able to guess what any of them are!

    terra cibus no.8: almond
    Pictured here is an almond, one of Alpert's favorites from the collection.

    Caren Alpert / Caren Alpert
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    terra cibus no.1: blueberry -

    Alpert says she was really surprised how different natural foods looked under a microscope compared to processed ones. "Organic foods are beautiful, they have textures that are repeated," she told TODAY.com. "Foods grown in the soil have a much different personality than the harsh lines and jagged edges of processed foods."

    Caren Alpert / Caren Alpert
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    terra cibus no.30: star anise -

    The spice has the look of a space crater when viewed through a microcope.

    Caren Alpert / Caren Alpert
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    terra cibus no.12: cake sprinkles -

    Alpert used a lower magnification than she did with other photos in the collection to capture this image of cake sprinkles.

    Caren Alpert / Caren Alpert
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    terra cibus no.4: fortune cookie -

    Another one of Alpert's favorites is this photo of a fortune cookie. "The fortune cookie gets a big response from people," Alpert said. "It looks like an aerial photo of a Saharan dessert."

    Caren Alpert / Caren Alpert
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    terra cibus no.22: lifesaver -

    Pictured here is a magnification of a Life Savers candy, one of 30 images that Alpert has released. She said she has done more than 60 photos so far as part of the Terra Cibus project.

    Caren Alpert / Caren Alpert
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    terra cibus no.33: pineapple leaf -

    A whole garden is visible within this single pineapple leaf. "Everyone is just sort of stunned at the images they are seeing, and that's the byproduct of taking an unexpected look at everyday foods that are relatable to the average person," said Alpert.

    Caren Alpert / Caren Alpert
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    terra cibus no.18: sugar in the raw 1 -

    "All food specimens that have sugar and are processed showed up cracked in a different way," Alpert explained.

    Caren Alpert / Caren Alpert
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    terra cibus no.35: sun-dried tomato 3 -

    No this isn't a shot inside an artery -- it's actually an extreme close-up of sun-dried tomato.

    Caren Alpert / Caren Alpert
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    terra cibus no.7: coffee bean -

    "I didn't want this project to be out of reach or out of touch," said Alpert. "I thought about what I eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and incorporated those ingredients." Few things are more relatable to Americans than coffee!

    Caren Alpert / Caren Alpert
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    terra cibus no.13: banana skin -

    Alpert has been working on the project for the last few years, using a laboratory's expensive scanning electron microscope to get the images.

    Here, she shows that banana skin isn't as smooth as it seems.

    Caren Alpert / Caren Alpert
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    terra cibus no.15: brussel sprout -

    Now, terra cibus is on display at PHOTO Gallery through April 12 in Oakland, Calif. Visit their website for more information on the exhibit.

    Who knew a Brussel sprout could be so lovely?

    Caren Alpert / Caren Alpert
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    terr cibus no.2: chocolate cake 2 -

    This view of a chocolate cake isn't quite as appetizing as one would expect.

    Caren Alpert / Caren Alpert
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    terra cibus no.23: onion -

    These onion layers are just begging to be peeled.

    Caren Alpert / Caren Alpert
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    terra cibus no.36: radish -

    Check out more from Caren Alpert's terra cibus project and get access to limited edition prints here.

    Caren Alpert / Caren Alpert