On Color

Year: 
2017
Ranking: 
Entrant
Artist: 
Bianca Dunn
Department: 
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Lab: 
David Low

Description

The use of color is key in microbiology, especially for identification of bacteria. For example, Bromocresol purple is a pH indicator that turns yellow in the presence of lactose-fermenting bacteria. Pictured here is the brilliant contrast of lactose-fermenting Enterobacteriaceae on the purple agar.

Unexpectedly, a mysterious fungus also appeared on this plate, making itself known with a bright green hue. The colors produced by fungi are due to a mixture of chemicals produced as waste, metabolites, digestive agents, or toxins. The exact reason why certain molds produce certain colors is unknown, which perhaps makes their beauty even more captivating.

CSEP CNSI Schuller Lab UCSB