Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

Different type of Microbial art:

The work of microbiologist-cum-photographer Zachary Copfer, who has turned a traditional artistic practice into a laudable technique weaving art and science into one. He calls it "bacteriography", which involves controlling bacteria growth to form desired images.

Copfer begins by taking a supply of bacteria and covering a plate with it. He then places a photo atop the plate and exposes it to radiation, making something akin to a negative of the print. After this, he develops the image as the bacteria grows, before finally coating it with acrylic and resin. To be more clear this is how he creates his work: He first takes a supply of bacteria like E. coli, turns it into a fluorescent protein, and covers a plate with it . Next, he creates a “negative” of the photo he wants to print by covering the prepared plate with the photo and then exposing it to radiation. He then “develops” the image by having the bacterial grow, and finally “fixes” the image by coating the image with a layer of acrylic and resin.

To create the images Copfer uses either a petri dish coated with a living E. coli bacteria genetically modified to express GFP, or Serratia marcescens bacteria. He then exposes the dish like photographic paper, only in this case the enlarger has been replaced by a radiation source.

The resulting images, being created out of dots of various sizes and densities, are reminiscent of halftone images from a newspaper.

E. coli based renderings of Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein and the night sky can be seen in his works on his website: .

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