A6: Painting with Microbes

Dan Mulkey

F03

Oasis

For the last year and a half or so, I’ve visualized my “capacity to love” as the tender of an oasis in an impassionate desert. The oasis must be kept bountiful, of pure intent, and shared freely with the thirsty. The  S. marcescens unfortunately did not turn the dunes as red as I would have hoped, and I realize now I should have used some more contrast, as the water features are barely visible against the rest of the structures. It’s a shame we had no blue/green cyanobacteria. I also should have gotten a refill on the  C. violaceum, as the palms got a little sparse.

I used TSA for this one because it is a non-differential medium and the differential agars would have produced an effect that would have muddled the overall picture (though in retrospect, the MacConkey agar may have produced more contrast)

Sun Ascendant

I wanted to do a sort of “2001: A Space Odyssey” thing here, with the sun rising over a silhouetted black horizon and casting a hazy glow.

To this end, I used  S. marcescens for the sun  (which was not technically a fermenter, but had a bizarre reaction with the differential MacConkey agar which triggered the pH pigment change). Unfortunately, I overdid it on the sun streaks and the entire agar changed color instead of just the area around the center.

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