C-MOULD Highlights: CV026. Textiles For Communicating with the Microbiome

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C-MOULD is a unique collection of microorganisms for use in art and design. This is the first of a series of posts and artworks that highlight some of its acquisitions.

CV026 is a bacterium that has been genetically modified to be effectively “mute” and in being so, to serve as a unique monitor for bacteria-to-bacteria communication.  That is, it can receive chemical communication signals from other bacteria and respond to them by producing a purple pigment, but it cannot send out signals itself. In these images, I have impregnated textiles with CV026 and also bacteria from my own normal flora. In both cases the bacteria are initially non-pigmented and white, but as my own microbiome produces signals that CV026 can detect, and respond to, the fabric begins to turn purple highlighting the intense interspecific communication, between my own bacterial flora and the reporter CV026. I feel rather privilidged to be seeing this for the first time.


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