Introducing Stentor. Not unlike a circular saw
A treat for a grey Saturday. The majestic Paramecium caudatum. The Sperm Whale of the microbial world
Bacteria and microbes would have been the first living things to move, and thus in a sense, the first organisms to be able to to dance on planet Earth. I’m attempting some microbiological choreography. In the first instance, can I persuade microbes to move with purpose and in a coordinated manner. The answer seems to be yes. It’s more like a flash mob, rather than an elegant ballet at present, but in the videos above Euglena gracilis has moved in a deliberate manner to a source of stimulus which results in a seething mass of mircobial cells and areas distil to the stimulus being far less populated. It’s easy to see how the complex multicellular behaviour that we see in plants might have arisen.
Introducing Spirostoma and Euglena gracilis
Please excuse the jerky microscope work. I’m still learning! Here is are short video of the beautiful Paramecium caudatum. 200x magnification, DIC microscopy.
A short time ago C-MOULD the world’s largest collection of microorganisms for use in art and design acquired two strains of Gluconoacetobacter xylinus, which produce cellulose nanofibres when grown with sugar. These are microscopic images of the bacteria and clearly show the bacterial cells amongst deposits and fibrils of cellulose. It’s an intriguingly tough yet flexible living material and by growing the bacteria together with sand I’m hoping to grow my own house.
Pyrocystis fusiformis is a large marine bioluminescent algae. When it is disturbed, it produces a flash of stiking blue bioluminescent light. In the still images and video above, I have poured some of the culture into a shallow Petri dish and then used a stylus to make paint-like strokes in the liquid media. Captured by the camera, the results are fleeting paintings where the individual trajectories of single cells of the algae can be seen. It’s as if the stylus has become a magical wand that sparkles with the raw energy of our seas. The colour and quality of the light reminds me of Cherenkow Radiation.