This Student Organization Showcases the Beauty of Microbiology Through Art

Agar art, aka germ art, is a form of art that uses microbes to create artwork. Microbes such as bacteria, yeast, and fungi can be chosen for their natural colors or can be engineered to express fluorescent proteins and viewed under ultraviolet light to make them shine in color.

Petri Dish Picasso is a Canadian student organization that promotes painting with bacteria, bringing this art to the public. Their goal is to teach people why bacteria is very important to our lives.

Alexander Fleming, the scientist who discovered the antibiotic properties of penicillin, is the one who pioneered this kind of art. The organization wanted to give people more access to the interesting world of microbiology with a hands-on approach.

The artists use agar plates as their canvas while pigmented or fluorescent bacteria and yeasts represent the paint. To preserve the microbial art after adequate incubation, some artists cast it in resin, but for Petri Dish Picasso, they just let it pass naturally. Check out their latest creations below.