MAR 04, 2017 11:14 AM PST

Growing Gorgeous Agar Art

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

In this video from American Society for Microbiology, you can get a look at some really incredibly artwork created by using agar plates, on which bacteria grow, and even learn how to create it yourself. The video features New England Biolabs Staff Scientist Mehmet Berkmen, PhD and mixed media artist Maria PeƱil Cobo, who won the 2015 Agar Art competition for their work, shown in the first few seconds of the video.

They demonstrate their techniques, first by preparing the agar plates (the recipe is shown) which many people with experience working in the lab will already know about. After the agar plates are set, time to make the art. There are many colorful bacteria that are commercially available, but there are also a few strains that naturally make vivid colors. Berkmen and Cobo have access to many resources of course, which allows them to create complex agar art with a lot of features. But it's also possible to create some artful plates with only a strain or two, especially if you know a lot about the growing patterns of the bacteria you use; it helps for example, to know how fast the bacteria you use grows, especially if your plate has more than one bacterium growing on it.

They also have a some great pointers for capturing nice images of the agar art. Finally, there is a way to find out more information about how to submit your own agar art to the 2017 contest.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
APR 05, 2020
Plants & Animals
APR 05, 2020
This Bird Can Mimic Almost Any Sound Accurately
Birds of all kinds are renowned for their calls, songs, and relentless chirps. Some birds use their calls to communicate ...
APR 08, 2020
Earth & The Environment
APR 08, 2020
The Great Barrier Reef is Bleaching Again
Australia's Great Barrier Reef is going through another bleaching event; it's third in five years. The ARC Centr ...
MAY 05, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAY 05, 2020
When Rival Baboon Troops Collide, Only Chaos Ensues
Troops of Hamadryas baboons can reach numbers of 400 strong without a single particular leader. Albeit large, these troo ...
MAY 08, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
MAY 08, 2020
Scientists to Spiders: How Do You Handle Sticky (Nanofiber) Situation?
The term "biomimicry" describes the models and methods harnessed by scientists to imitate natural element ...
MAY 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAY 10, 2020
Penguins Have a Rough Time Combating Larger Predators
Humboldt penguins are small and easy prey for larger predators, and with that in mind, it may not come as much of a surp ...
MAY 27, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAY 27, 2020
Unfavorable Weather Delays SpaceX's Historic Crewed American Launch
After officially receiving the green light from NASA to move forward with the first crewed space launch from American so ...
Loading Comments...