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

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The American Society for Microbiologists recently hosted its first international ‘Agar Art’ challenge in which microbiologists from around the world used various microbes and germs to create beautiful works of art in Petri dishes. The submissions included famous paintings and classical artworks like Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ as well as original microbe paintings.

The scientists used nutritious agar jelly as a “canvas” for their colorful paintings. While they do add an element of randomness as they grow, they can also do things that paint cannot – some of these Petri dish artworks emit bio fluorescent light under certain conditions, while others, guided by the scientists, grew into perfect tree-branch patterns or jelly-fish tentacles.

For more about the process behind unique art like this, read about the work of Tasha Sturm, a microbiologist who used an agar dish to capture the germs on an eight-year-old boy’s hand.

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

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

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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

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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

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Click here to learn about how Tasha Sturm made this microbe handprint with her 8-year-old son:

microbe-art-petri-dish-agar-contest-van-gogh-starry-night-american-society-microbiologists-39

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Dovas

Dovas

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There is a beast with heart of cold stone that dashes like lightning, shreds flesh from bone. // Bewitched by this beast, I fell to my knees. My mouth babbled madness and mumbled soft pleas. // I stared down the ravenous, gnashing dark maw of a cute cuddly kitten with yarn in its paw

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Dovas

Dovas

Author, Community member

There is a beast with heart of cold stone that dashes like lightning, shreds flesh from bone. // Bewitched by this beast, I fell to my knees. My mouth babbled madness and mumbled soft pleas. // I stared down the ravenous, gnashing dark maw of a cute cuddly kitten with yarn in its paw

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