Microbiologists Recreate ‘Starry Night’ And Other Art With Bacteria For Microbe Art Competition

Published 9 years ago

Bacteria have to be one of the strangest materials for art. Yet scientists show that they can even recreate Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” with it. They can create various other shapes of surprising sophistication. From depictions of neurons to a map of Manhattan to detailed jellyfish, nothing is impossible if you’re willing to sacrifice legions of microbes for your art.

These almost literally viral art pieces were created for the first international “Agar challenge” with microbiologists competing to grow the best art piece in agar jelly dishes. Agar plates (Petri dishes) are used to grow bacteria cultures. Agar, made from certain algae, provides a jelly that’s indigestible to many organisms, so it provides a stable base for microbe growth.

More info: asm.org | microbeworld.org | facebook

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Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” Proteus mirabilis, Acinetobacter baumanii, Enterococcus faecalis, Klebsiella pneumonia


Flowering Sunshine, Shigella, Salmonella


First place: Neurons by Mehmet Berkmen and artist Maria Pernil, Nesterenkonia, Deinociccus, Sphingomonas


The Great Wave of Candida by Cristina Marcos, Candida albicans, Candida glabrata, Candida parapsilosis


The Streptomyces Sky, Streptomyces coelicolor


People’s choice: Cell to Cell by Mehmet Berkmen and artist Maria Pernil, Nesterenkonia, Deinociccus, Sphingomonas


Third place: Harvest season by Maria Eugenia Inda, Saccharomyces cerevisiae


Mushrooms, Nesterenkonia, Deinociccus, Sphingomonas


Yeast Go Viral, S. cerevisiae, L-A virus


Cells, Nesterenkonia, Deinociccus, Sphingomonas


Second place: NYC Biome Map by Christine Marizzi, Escherichia coli K12


Jellyfish by Maria Penil, Nesterenkonia, Deinociccus, Sphingomonas, Bacillus


Martynas Klimas

Writes like a mad dervish, rolls to dodge responsibility, might have bitten the Moon once.

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