“While cross-contamination is typically avoided in microbiology, I tried to optimize it to achieve a more painterly palette,” agar artist Tarah Rhoda wrote about this creation, titled “Latitudes Leaking Longitudes.”
This gorgeous art was made with a surprising substance: live bacteria
Agar plates changed the way scientists cultivate tiny life in labs. Now agar is the canvas for a growing school of art.
For the last five years, the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) has been running an agar art competition. This year brought in 347 entries across categories for scientists (Professional), non-scientists (Maker), and children (Kids). Entrants submitted photos of their agar art creations, ASM staff judged the submissions in each category, and the public voted on social media to award People’s Choice honors.
This year's winners, announced today, include a depiction of a Koi fish and a lotus flower by Arwa Hadid from Oakland University (Professional); Hungarian folk art by Zita Pöstényi from SYNLAB Hungary Ltd. (People’s Choice); a bacterial self-portrait by Korey Abram (Maker), and “The Circle of Life” representing the connectedness of the world by Kate Lin (Kids).