Spooky season is here, so it’s time to break out the agar plates, inoculating loops, and your favorite microorganism strains, and get to work creating your microbial masterpiece for our annual #CreepyCultures agar art contest! Each year our customers and industry partners showcase their creativity and scientific expertise with their Halloween-themed agar art, and we know this year will be no different!
How the contest works
Create Halloween-themed agar art using your favorite microorganisms and agar. Send us a picture of your agar art by Friday, October 28th, 2022, for a chance to win fun prizes. Winning plates will be chosen by Microbiologics employees.
- Eligible artwork must be created using microorganisms cultured on agar media
- The image should be original artwork created for the #CreepyCultures contest
- Agar art must be submitted by end of day on Friday, October 28th to be eligible
Tip: For extra spookiness, use microorganisms with green fluorescent protein markers, like our UV-BioTAG control strains, to make your plate glow under UV light.
Check out some past submissions and winners for inspiration:
Sharing your masterpiece
Submit your agar art HERE for a chance to win!
We will share submissions and announce the winners Tuesday, November 1st, 2022 on the Microbiologics Blog.
Looking for inspiration?
These microbial monsters might help you get into the Halloween spirit.
Vampirococcus is a gram negative, anaerobic bacterium. Found in primarily freshwater habitats, the prey of Vampirococcus tends to be within the genus Chromatium. As an epibiont, Vampirococcus attaches to the surface of bacteria. Once attached, this predatory microbe releases enzyme that degrades the cytoplasm. It also digests the cytoplasm, essentially “sucking” nutrients from the Chromatium bacterium. Vampirococcus takes “I want to suck your blood” to a new level of creepy!1
Ophicordyceps unilateralis (zombie fungus)
Beware the walking dead with the parasitic fungus Ophicordyceps unilateralis. This tropical forest dwelling pathogen invades ants, attaching to their exoskeletons. As the fungus grows, the behavioral patterns of the ants are altered, causing them to convulse and appear to move “zombie like.”2
What do a greedy cannibal ogre and a hemimastigote have in common? Lots and lots of hair. Hemimastix kukwesjijkwas named after the mythical creature, Kukwe. This organism consists of many flagella, though it differs from other organisms with flagella in its pattern of movement. “It’s as if these cells never really learned that they have many flagella,” as graduate student Yana Eglit described it. This organism is extremely rare, so chances you will encounter it are about as good as encountering an ogre.3
What’s your favorite creepy microorganism? No matter the microorganism you choose for your agar art, be sure to share it with us for a chance to win some fun Microbiologics swag!
1. Guerrero, R., Pedros-Alio, C., Esteve, I., Mas, J., Chase, D., & Margulis, L. (1986). “Predatory prokaryotes: predation and primary consumption evolved in bacteria.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 83(7), 2138–2142. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.83.7.2138
2. Lin, WJ., Lee, YI., Liu, SL.et al. “Evaluating the tradeoffs of a generalist parasitoid fungus, Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, on different sympatric ant hosts.” Sci Rep10, 6428 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-63400-1
3. CBC/Radio Canada. (2019, January 9). Organisms found on hike in the woods are like no other life on earth | CBC news. CBCnews. Retrieved October 6, 2022, from https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/hemimastigotes-supra-kingdom-1.4715823