How Microbiologists Craft Stunning Art Using Pathogens, Meenakshi J, δημοσίευση Smithsonian Magazine [22/3/2021]Marilena Pateraki
Clad in a white lab-coat, 26-year-old bespectacled microbiologist Balaram Khamari hunches over dozens of petri dishes, each filled with invisible colonies of bacteria. Two days before, Balaram filled a few of these petri dishes with agar—a jelly-like substance isolated from seaweed. A day after that, he streaked bacteria on the agar and slid the petri dishes into an incubator. Balaram was waiting for the bacteria to feed on the agar and multiply into colorful patterns, but not in the name of science; the microbiologist crafted the samples in the petri dishes to become works of art.
A doctoral research scholar in the biosciences department at India’s Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Puttaparthi, Balaram is part of a growing tribe of researchers around the world who use microorganisms to create stunning pictures. The practice, known as agar art, involves scientists culturing microbes on the jelly-like growth medium. “Microbial art allows me to pursue my love for creative arts as well as fascination for science at one place,” Balaram says.
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