Ahh…There is nothing like a Christmas tree design created with bacteria and other microorganisms in a petri dish. If I was a scientist stuck in a lab all day long, and if I needed some holiday cheer, I would definitely try to hook up some petri dishes with festive fungi too. Let me ask you this, when you think of fungus, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? For me, it’s the black or green moldy stuff that grows on blocks of cheese in my refrigerator. I’m not even sure if that is technically fungi, but it sure is disgusting. The scientist who created these festive fungi hopes to change the bad reputation it has, and she hopes to show others that it can be beautiful in its own way.
These petri dish fungal delights were created at the J. Craig Venter Institute on the 3rd floor in the fungal room. If you click over to the website, you’ll even get treated to what kind of fungi these Christmas trees and snowman were made from. Aspergillus, Penicillium and Neosartorya are just a few of the strands used. What fascinates me most about these is how this petri dish artist, Stephanie Mounaud, was able to predict the patterns in which this fungi would grow. I remember from biology class that it isn’t easy to determine that, which lets me know that she really knows her stuff. According to her blog post, she is already brainstorming for next year’s designs.
I can’t help but wonder if she captured these photographs at just the right moment, and if now they are grown beyond their original petri dishes. I also wonder what she did with these when this project was over. I mean, this fungi is too beautiful to just kill with bleach. Wow, I never thought I’d write that fungi was beautiful, but it is.
Fungi Christmas Trees In Petri Dishes
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