Petri Paint was conceived from the desire to create a class for all ages to learn about biology. We envisioned something where kids and adults could experience science hands on without signing up for a college course. A recent movement in the art community has developed lovingly called Bio-Art. Then the idea struck us…. Painting with bacteria.
For those of you out there that have learned your entire life to fear bacteria, let us enlighten you to the wonderful world of good bacteria. While it is good to fear that nasty bacterial infection there are many types of bacteria that pose no risk to humans. For this project we picked a very safe strain of E. coli commonly used in scientific research. You might be thinking that you have heard a lot about the dangers of E. coli and you are correct. Some strains of E. coli are potentially very unhealthy. However there are many strains and we have carefully chosen a safe strain. When working with our bacteria you do not need to be concerned about touching, smelling, or even breathing our bacteria.
So how did we make bacteria so bright and colorful? The short answer is genetic modification. We started with plain E. coli which is an uninteresting beige color. Then by carefully editing the DNA of the E. coli we added genes from brightly colored corals. The final result is bacteria that produces intense colors.
Want to know more about the science behind our colored bacteria. Come learn Synthetic Biology at our community lab in Downtown Los Angeles. Visit THEL4B.com to learn more about our lab.