Zoe

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A bacterium called Zoe. Isolated from the finger tips of a school child of the same name during a science/art visit. In the lab it revealed an unexpected and potentially valuable property. It produces a poweful antifungal activity. Now dormant at – 80 C and part of  C-MOULD.

Unmaking a Daisy

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A brief non-microbiological and rather dangerous excursion!

A Daisy plucked from the garden and immersed in concentrated sulphuric acid. The acid has extracted its defining chemical signature and left behind a frail and now lifeless skeleton of carbon. The flower has succumbed to a cold pyrolysis but what made the daisy and gave it its identity is still present, having been conserved by chemical and physical laws. In a sense then, the flower is still there but its content has been reordered and distributed, but now where does the Daisy begin and end?

In the final work (below),  simply entitled “Daisy”, the Daisy has been completely rendered into a viscous black, and still corrosive,  liquid , which is presented in a 19th Century specimen jar from the Natural History Museum. The work thus invites the obsever to question the concept of preservation. The jar has been sealed since the introduction of the Daisy into the sulphuric acid, so nothing has been gained or lost from it , so  that in a sense then the Daisy is still there,  but its elemental make up has been reordered and distributed, by a relentless  entropic process.  

The Daisy

The Daisy

The Daisy

The Daisy

C-MOULD: Co-Curator Opportunity

Themycelial form of the bioluminescent fungus Panellus stipticus

The mycelial form of the bioluminescent fungus Panellus stipticus

I’ve just set up C-MOULD,  a unique collection and knowledge base, for microorganisms that have application within the arts. All of the microorganism featured in this blog, the beguiling bioluminescent fungus Panellus stipticus (pictured here), and many others are part of the collection. C-MOULD is now seeking an enthusiastic and committed co-curator.  Unfortunately we cannot pay you at the moment but you will be encouraged to seek funding for projects that use this unique collection, you will receive training, and will have complete access to this truly unique strain collection. Please apply or express an interest by commenting on this post.

Photorhabdus update

Imaged in daylight. From left to right: no added carbon source, 1% glucose, and 1% glycerol. Top P.asymbiotica, Bottom P. luminescens

Imaged in daylight. From left to right: no added carbon source, 1% glucose, and 1% glycerol. Top P.asymbiotica, Bottom P. luminescens

Imaged in darkness. From left to right: no added carbon source, 1% glucose, and 1% glycerol. Top P.asymbiotica, Bottom P. luminescens

Imaged in darkness. From left to right: no added carbon source, 1% glucose, and 1% glycerol. Top P.asymbiotica, Bottom P. luminescens

I’m optimizing conditions that incease light output in the bioluminescent bacteria, Photorhabdus luminescens and Photorhabdus asymbiotica. Interesting that conditions that promote light production in P. luminescens diminish production of the orange pigment.

Photorhabdus species: optimizing bioluminescence

Optimized bioluminescence in Photorhabdus asymbiotica (top) and Photorhabdus luminescencs (bottom)

Optimized bioluminescence in Photorhabdus asymbiotica (top) and Photorhabdus luminescencs (bottom)

37 C, no added carbon source, 1% glucose, 1% glycerol

37 C, no added carbon source, 1% glucose, 1% glycerol

30 C, no added carbon source, 1% glucose, 1% glycerol

30 C, no added carbon source, 1% glucose, 1% glycerol

25 C, no added carbon source, 1% glucose, 1% glycerol

25 C, no added carbon source, 1% glucose, 1% glycerol

20 C, no added carbon source, 1% glucose, 1% glycerol

20 C, no added carbon source, 1% glucose, 1% glycerol

Before art there is always science. These are experiments to optimize light output in the bioluminescent bacteria Photorahbdus asymbiotica and Photorhabdus luminescens  by changing the incubation temperature, and by adding various carbon sources to the media. The effect of temperature is dramatic. Incubation at  37 C, also human body temperature, results in the best light production. Also the colonies are brightest without any additional carbon source and thus the carbon sources used here at least repress light output.  Unlike the bioluminescent marine bacteria such as Photobacterium phosphoreum, the light produced by the Photorhabdus species here is stable at higher temperatures and does not require the addition of high concentrations of salt and offers alternative artistic applications.