Grow Your Own: nanocellulose

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As today we might grow a sourdough culture at home, my dream is that we might one day grow bacterial nanocellulose, and evolvee or breed these cultures to suit whatever purposes we choose (to grow clothes, building materials or furniture).  Of course, to be able to do this we would need a Kitchen/DIY meda, made from supermarket ingredients, in which Gluconoacteobacter xylinus would grow. This is our first attempt to make such a media at C-MOULD. The yield of nanocellulose is good but not as much as the synthetic media at the moment. An important first step though.

Momento Mori

The image here was takenafter decolourization and staining with the secondary dye

The image here was taken after decolourization and staining with the secondary dye

The acid fast stain is important in the diagnosis of mycobacterial diseases. Here the acid fast stain  ( Kinyoun method), has  been used to stain the mycobacteria on the textile. The image here was taken  after addition of the carbol fuschin primary stain

The acid fast stain is important in the diagnosis of mycobacterial diseases. Here the acid fast stain ( Kinyoun method), has been used to stain the mycobacteria on the textile. The image here was taken after addition of the carbol fuschin primary stain

Mycobacterium species have been grown on the garment's fabric

Mycobacterium species have been grown on the garment’s fabric

Momento mori would be both a reminder and a warning for the devasting impact of bacterial diseases. In developed countries today, many of these illnesses are  controlled by the use of  antibiotic treatments and vaccination programs. However, these diseases still cause death on a massive scale in the developing world, and as antibiotic, and now vaccination resistant strains emerge,  perhaps they will do so again in our modern cities. Momento mori will be a garment where each of the  beautiful and coloured designs is actually made from an infamously pathogenic bacterium. The first design is this rose, made from Mycobacterium species, bacteria that cause tuberculosis and leprosy.

Lest We Forget

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A plaque in Winchester Cathedral remembering the Britiish soldiers that died during the Crimean war. It’s very telling that more died of disease (Cholera was particularly prevalent) than they did directly  in battle. Most of those that died from wounds probably did so because these were infected and such infections were usually fatal in the pre-antibiotic era.

Immortal Worlds ?

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I’ve begun a new project interweaving art and science with visual artist Jac Scott  The focus of the Immortal Worlds? is on mapping this unseen world of methanogens and how climate change will impact on these major producers of methane. Here are some micoscopic glimpses of the salt water ecosystems that we have established