Microbial Art Project — Microbes on Agar, Encased in Resin

Artist Statement: For this art project, I wanted to do something creative. I thought how it would be cool to be able to have my microbe forever, and the idea of encasing it in resin sprung to mind — despite the fact that I’ve never worked with resin before. I plated my bacterial isolate (which is normally bright orange) on five different agar plates: trypticase soy agar (TSA), MacConkey agar (MAC), mannitol salt agar (MAN), blood agar (BA), and eosin methylene blue agar (EMB). I allowed the plates to incubate for a week, then cut out little circles of agar + microbes out of the plate and put them in molds with resin. I was surprised to find that the resin changed the colors of all the agars. TSA turned from transparent gold to white, MAC turned from pink to a pastel pink, MAN turned from a bright pink to a bright yellow, BA turned from a dark red/brown to white, and EMB turned from dark red to a lighter red. It must be something about the chemical composition of the resin — I haven’t fully researched the implications yet. Anyway, I am satisfied with how the pieces turned out given that it is my first time working with resin, although they still need polishing. They are in keychain form, so that I can always have my microbe with me (even though I never was able to identify it).

 

#1: bacteria on MAN

 

#2: bacteria on TSA

 

#3: bacteria on BA (blood agar)

 

#4: bacteria on MAC

 

#5: bacteria on EMB

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