Agar Art Is Magnificent

Scientists use microbes to create modern masterpieces

Voyager

In each of the last three years, the American Society for Microbiology has run the Agar Art Contest, asking for “works that are at their core an organism(s) growing on agar.” This is an incredible competition that pits skilled lab rats against one another to create (sometimes) beautiful works of art using nothing but media and microbes.

For those who might have missed the winners announcement last May, here are a few of our favorite submissions:

Pennywise the scary bacterial clown

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“Pennywise was made with Klebsiella pneumoniae and Escherichia coli on CHROMagar Orientation agar, both carbapenem-resistant.”

DC vs Marvel: Battle Of The Bacteria

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“Behold this battle against the forces of evil as depicted in streak plate. Try not to pick the wrong side!”

Don’t Cry Over Spilt Bacteria!

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“Although CB1190 came from lowly, waste beginnings, its color is as pure and white as milk. Everybody who’s ever had warm cookies knows you can never have too much milk. When it comes to 1,4-dioxane contamination—we never cry over spilt bacteria!”

Germs Gone Global

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“I used Spectra MRSA chromogenic media (opaque milky color) to illustrate a map of the Earth using methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (denim blue).”

Marylin Monroe

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“The pink shades of Kocuria and Serratia are perfect for the recreation of Warhol’s famous portrait.”

You can see more of the 265 submissions in the ASM’s three Facebook albums.

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Disclaimer: Copyrights to all agar images belong to each of their respective artists and/or ASM.

Robinhood