Saturday 30 April 2011

painting with bacteria

So here are some nice pictures of a collaborative work between myself and Dr. Simon Park of the University of Surrey and some bacteria.

The fluffy fractals are the ubiquitous soil bacterium Bacillus mycoides and the red painting fellas are everybody's favourite star of bathroom tile grout and shower curtain, Serratia marcescens, which has the enviable ability to become its own paintbrush by growing extra flagella to swarm with. And secretes its own surfactant in the swarm fluid, which is very handy if you want to dissolve watercolour paint. And uses the river of its swarm fluid to communicate with other members of its colony. Lovely.

All the photos in this post are by Simon Park, and the bacteria collected and cultured by him.

And thanks to Anna Dumitriu for introducing us as part of her fantastic Laboratory Life experience.

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