Welcome to your microbial cosmos!
During TED 2018, we had the opportunity to reveal some of the microbial cosmos that exist around us. Here are some of the results! Growing below are microorganisms from our surroundings. These petri plates contain microorganisms that are not only visually beautiful and part of our healthy world, but are also incredibly useful sources of technology.
For example: there are microorganisms growing below that are known to protect plants against disease by stimulating plant immune systems (the swirly Bacillus species that looks like curly hair on many of the plates below), microorganisms that are being investigated as safe sunscreens (the gorgeous yellow ones on plate 014), microorganisms with the ability to degrade toxic pollutants (some of the pink ones like on plate 035), microorganisms that have been shown to protect our skin from Staph infections (tiny white ones), and microorganisms with antimicrobial activity (maybe the source of our next antibiotics?!) seen on plate 043.
Behold, the wonder that is growing around us if we just dare to look!
(Note: Our goal was to grow these microorganisms, so they have blossomed on these petri plates full of nutrients. However, this does not mean they are growing that abundantly, on the location sampled. Just one tiny cell will grow to cover a petri plate if given enough time (this is particularly true for the swirly Bacillus bacterium seen below). Conversely, some microorganisms do not like the nutrients we provided. Just because the petri plate does not contain visible microbial growth, it does not mean there are no microorganisms there. Don’t worry, I’m sure you have a healthy microbial community as well!)
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Images relate to ID numbers.