The Disturbing Aesthetic of Antimicrobial Resistance: 4 days

“Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses and fungi. AMR is an increasingly serious threat to global public health that requires action across all government sectors and society.” (WHO).

The work here is a coloured interpretation of a recent demonstration, and study on the emergence of antibiotic resistance, via evolutionary processes  (The MegaPlate Study).

The purple coloured bacterium is resistant to the antibiotic Cloxacillin and so moves and spreads through the swim agar which is impregnated with the antibiotic. At first the red pigmented bacteria is sensitive to Cloxacillin and so its growth and movement are severely restricted.


After overnight incubation , purple has advanced and grown through the Cloxacillin containing agar. Red has not.


After two days of incubation Cloxacillin resistant purple continues to grow and spread, whilst red is restricted by its Cloxacillin sensitivity.


After two days incubation Cloxacillin resistant purple has continued to grow and spread whilst sensitive red still fails to prosper.


On day three,  purple continues to thrive and spread, but now red has also evolved resistance to Cloxacillin, and so now has begun to grown and spread.


On day four, both purple and red are fully resistant to Cloxacillin and grow and spread freely in its presence (image below). So it goes and will always go. We live in a world where bacteria have for billions of years, and will continue to do so,  solve complex problems of a biological nature, not for our benefit, but purely theirs.  For me there is a particular fission in this work as Cloxacillin once saved me from a life-threatening bacterial infection.


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