Weird Art: Microbiologists Create Stunning Visual Art Using Microorganisms in Agar Plates

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Weird Art: Microbiologists Create Stunning Visual Art Using Microorganisms in Agar Plates

Who knew microbiologists could make stunning visual art? Well, they certainly did. Check out their weird art using microorganisms (what did you expect?) below.

First Ever Agar Art Contest

The American Society of Microbiology (ASM) launched its first-ever Agar art contest this year. The challenge was for ASM members to put their plating skills to the limit and create a piece of art using an agar petri dish as canvas and microbes as paint.

The submissions were judged based on their creativity, design, and presentation. The written description, whether it was scientifically accurate and appropriate for a general audience, was also considered.

There were many submissions, but first place went to a creation titled “Neurons” by Mehmet Berkmen of New England Biolabs, with artist Maria Penil. This piece used yellow Nesterenkonia, orange Deinococcus and Sphingomonas.

Second place went to Christine Marizzi for her work “NYC Biome MAP,” using Escherichia coli K12 bacteria. The artwork was created in collaboration between citizen scientists and artists at Genspace: New York City’s Community Biolab.

“Harvest Season”, made by Maria Eugenia Inda from Argentina of Cold Spring Harbor Labs, bagged third place. She used Saccharomyces cerevisiae to create this piece.

There was also an award given to the creation with almost 3,500 likes on Facebook: “Cell to Cell.” The same group who won first place created this artwork. They used red Serratia cell, yellow Nesterenkonia, orange Deinococcus and Sphingomonas for this piece.

More Weird Art Using Microorganisms

Other notable entries include the following.

“Hunger Games” was created using Actinomycetes and Streptomyces coelicolor.

“The Streptomyces Sky” was created using Streptomyces coelicolor.

“The Violet Louis Pasteur” was created using Chromobacterium violaceum on Muller Hinton agar.

This one is a re-creation of Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.” It was made using BBL’s CHROMagar Orientation agar, Proteus mirabilisAcinetobacter baumaniiEnterococcus faecalis, and Klebsiella pneumonia.

“Wibbly-Wobbly-Timey-Wimey,” aka the Tardis, clearly shows its creators are Doctor Who fans. It was made using LB agar plates, a colorless reagent called X-gal, and E. coli background DH5α.

“Jellyfish” depicts two jellyfish frolicking on the agar plate. It was created using yellow Nesterenkonia, orange Deinococcus and Sphingomonas along with white Bacillus spots.

Check out ASM’s Facebook page to see the rest of the submissions.


What do you think of this weird art? Which entry did you like best?



Juvy Garcia
Juvy Garcia
Juvy is a freelance proofreader, copy editor and writer. A nice little nook with a good book would be ideal. But concocting plans for her next drawing or DIY project will suffice while she's still busy babysitting two daughters. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on Google+.