Live Wires/

One set of threads after incubation. Here the threads have been inoculated seperately  with two different bacteria that initially white.  However, when these two strains are allowed to mix with each other and communicate, they produce a purple pigment.This is clearly visible at the junction or node where the two species have mixed and are communicating with one another

One set of threads after incubation. Here the threads have been inoculated seperately with two different bacteria that are initially white. However, when these two strains are allowed to mix with each other and communicate, they produce a purple pigment.This is clearly visible at the junction or node where the two species have mixed and are communicating with one another

 

One set of threads after incubation. One thread was inoculated with a purple pigmented bacterium and the other with a red one. I like the way that purple has beaten red to the junction and prevented it travelling any further.

One set of threads after incubation. One thread was inoculated with a purple pigmented bacterium and the other with a red one. I like the way that purple has beaten red to the junction and prevented it travelling any further.

The threads just after inoculation

The threads just after inoculation. No pigments or growth yet visible.

The threads just after inoculation

The threads just after inoculation. No pigments or growth yet visible.

One set of threads after incubation. One thread was inoculated with a purple pigmented bacterium and the other with a red one. I like the way that purple has beaten red to the junction and prevented it travelling any further.

One set of threads after incubation. One thread was inoculated with a purple pigmented bacterium and the other with a red one. I like the way that purple has beaten red to the junction and prevented it travelling any further.

Three days incubation. Remember the purple pigment is only produced where the two strains of bacteria are communicating with each other

Three days incubation. Remember the purple pigment is only produced where the two strains of bacteria are communicating with each other

Three days incubation. Remember the purple pigment is only produced where the two strains of bacteria are communicating with each other

Three days incubation. Remember the purple pigment is only produced where the two strains of bacteria are communicating with each other

Red/Purple Three days incubation

Red/Purple Three days incubation

Red/Purple Three days incubation

Red/Purple Three days incubation

Red/Purple Three days incubation

Red/Purple Three days incubation

The bacteria following threads laid out in  quite complex patterns

The bacteria following threads laid out in quite complex patterns

The bacteria following threads laid out in  quite complex patterns

The bacteria following threads laid out in quite complex patterns

The bacteria following threads laid out in  quite complex patterns

The bacteria following threads laid out in quite complex patterns

 

I first saw hints of this phenomenon a few years ago when I was growing bacteria on textiles for a collborative art project with Anna Dumitriu but have only now started to explore it further. If fine threads of material (cotton in this case) are placed on the surface of solid bacterial growth media, and then inoculated with  motile bacteria, then the  bacteria are able to travel along these but not the rest of the agar surface. Wires, that carry bacteria and not electrons? Bacterial Highways? Threads of Life?

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