Sarah Brower (F02) Painting with Microbes

Spring (This is turned, the MAC should be on the top of the picture.)

I tried to make a cherry blossom tree branch using  Chromobacterium violaceum for the bark and  Serratia  marcescens for the flowers and petals.   Both of these microbes are fermenters, I wanted the petals to slowly leach out the pink of the MAC agar.

I wanted to give a bit of contrast with the petals and the background, so I chose the MAC agar for the color change and S. marcescens for that property and for the color of the bacteria.

Painting with Microbes

John Pierce -FO2

I intended to use various bacteria to create a sunflower. Using C. violeceum as the center, dark middle. M. luteus as the yellow petals, and adding a surrounding of bacterial spots using my very own isolate! I didn’t intend to streak the middle into the petals but the little that did happen I think adds to it! My best picture came out on the TSA plate which isn’t differential.

Painting with Microbes


  • Brittany Wintter
  • Lab section F01

  • I thought it would be incredibly ironic to use bacteria to paint a virus thus my inspiration.
  • I utilized EMB [Eosin Methylene Blue] as a medium because it turns Escherchia coli into a dark black color (image 1) with a lovely green sheen when tilted in the light (image 2). My lines were not as crisp as I would have liked them and it appears that in the shading process I contaminated the left side of the virus “head”. The inside of the head and body are Serratia marcescus and the base of the head and disc that holds the body are Citrobacter freundii. I was hoping for a larger color difference in the S. marcescus and C. freundii but I am still pleasantly surprised it turned out at well as it did. S. marcescus is a gram-negative, non-fermenting bacteria that turns EMB translucent or pink; a small amount of pink is present but it is a bit difficult to see the difference. C. freundii is a gram-negative, fermenting bacteria that should have turned a red or black color [which slightly occurred] but it is a bit difficult to differentiate between the C. freundii and E. coli because the lines are so close together. Overall the median stayed the same red tone but the strains of bacteria did show up in the appropriate manners.


Painting with Microbes- Silent Night

Name: Silent Night

Artist: Samantha Pershing

Lab Section: F01


This artwork was supposed to represent a moose walking around during a snowy night. I wanted both the moose and the moon to stand out. As such, I chose bacteria for the moon that would turn black and bacteria that was supposed to turn pink for the moose. Sadly, though, the moose was not pink in this picture. I believe that it didn’t have enough time to do so because later I went back and the moose was a different color. Although, when I went back and took pictures later the bacteria that represent the snow grew too big and didn’t look good to me. I chose to then to upload this picture even though the moose was about the same color as the rest of the artwork because I liked it better.

The role of media:

I chose to use TSA because it wasn’t differential or selectional, which means all types of the bacteria we could choose from could grow with this media. Also, I didn’t want the color that you get from using EMB or MacConkey’s agar to show up because I wanted a snowy scenery (which meant I needed light colors and a whitish background).


Painting With Microbes

Jay Mayer, F03


My artistic intent was to make a turtle, since they are my favorite animal. This was done on an Eosin Methylene Blue (EMB) agar plate. I used  Escherchia coli  bacteria to make my drawing– they look off-white on a TSA plate, but black with a green sheen on an EMB plate. The agar did not change color, but the bacteria did. They first appeared to only be black, but a few days later they developed the green sheen seen in the picture above.  E. coli bacteria strongly ferment the lactose in EMB plates, which acidifies the EMB and causes the colonies of bacteria to turn black.

Painting with Microbes

Kayla Haines-Wells

Lab section-F01

My intent was to paint something that represents the the tree of life. This makes me think about how if there wasn’t microbes that oxygenated the earth we wouldn’t be here.

There was some results that was I thought would turn out but some that I wasn’t expecting. I wasn’t to surprised with the MAC plate because I used Chromobacterium violaceum in order to get the dark purple color for the out line of the tree. For the flowers/leaves on the tree I used Serraita marcescens that turn out pink as I expected. However, the TSA plate is what was really interesting there appears to be a green-yellow color where the grass after putting streaks of Escherichia coli in that area.  The EMB plate did exactly what the lab hand out said was that when using Escherichia coli  it strongly ferment lactose acidify, turning into a black with a green metallic sheen.

Painting with microbes

Janessa Newman


I had intended for the wings to have a lining of red, but I must have made a mistake and picked the microbe that developed a yellow appearance because it also appeared yellow in my TSA plate.

As you can see, I chose the MAC plate to display my art. The MAC plate is a differential and selective medium that selects against gram positive bacteria. For that reason I chose all gram negative microbes. MAC contains a pH dependent red dye and lactose and peptone as carbon sources. Microbes that feed on the lactose and produce acidic lactose would change the agar to pink, and microbes that feed on peptone convert it to ammonia; this is why my MAC plate turned a lighter yellow color.

Painting with Microbes; Ana Strachan (F01)

My intent was to draw a paw print, I decided to pick this because I love my dogs and used them for inspiration. Im actually pleased with the way it came out in comparison to my other drawings. I used the TSA agar plate and the black color for my paw print was achieved by using C. violaceum which is a Gram-negative bacteria which grew very well and fast on the TSA plate. This picture was taken the day after the lab was completed. Although the TSA plate didn’t change colors it will be hard to determine any special characteristics for this microbe on this specific plate; because TSA plates are not differential because their purpose is to grow many types of bacteria fast and cheap.

Pink Salmon

I attempted to depict two pink salmon swimming because as a fishing guide I have a great respect for these fish.   This picture was taken three days after inoculation.   I used a MAC plate with Serratia marcescens which is a Gram negative and ferments.   I chose this because it was supposed to turn pink which after talking to Alexis I found out the sample we used in lab was contaminated.