Microbes of Decomposition


For the piece I have been working on, I decided to make   a woman with a dress of microbes laying on the forest bed.   I always find images with woman lying on the forest to be interesting (especially one series of photos I’ve seen that represents stages of fertility).   I first thought of a woman lying in some moss in the forest, and then decided to do a depiction of the bacteria that go behind the decomposition of a body to make up the dress of the person.

For the purpose of finding out which microbes are involved in decomposition, I ended up reading through a paper by Metcalf et al. that discussed use of microbes in forensics to better determine time of death.   I discovered which microbes played parts in different stages of decomposition and placed them throughout as such.   Many of the soil bacteria were Proteobacteria, which meant that they were all gram-negative.

Some of the interesting bacteria to find included Firmicutes that would stain gram-negative though they were gram-positive and serratia, which could form endospores.