Scientists Create Microbial Paintings

Scientists are creating microbial art by brushing cultures of fungi, E. coli bacteria and dye on Petri dishes. With the bacteria in a liquid medium, artists then paint patterns in the dish and grow the artwork in a laboratory incubator. The paintings eventually fade away when the bacteria dies. “It’s unusual and interesting because the exact result can’t always be completely controlled,” scientist-microbial artist Niall Hamilton of New Zealand says. Hamilton gets his materials from window sills and dirty sinks. Dr. Hunter Cole teaches a class on the technique at Loyola University in Chicago.