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 recognizable paintings like Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ as well as original microbe paintings.
Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” Proteus mirabilis, Acinetobacter baumanii, Enterococcus faecalis, Klebsiella pneumonia
The scientists used nutritious agar jelly as a “canvas” for their colorful microbes. While they do add an element of randomness as they grow, they can also do things that paint cannot – some of them emit bioflourescent light under certain conditions, while others, guided by the scientists, grew into perfect tree-branch patterns or jelly-fish tentacles.
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
People’s choice: Cell to Cell by Mehmet Berkmen and artist Maria Pernil, Nesterenkonia, Deinociccus, Sphingomonas