The microbiologists at HiMedia gave us a very special gift: They managed to grow our neoFroxx logo on a nutrient medium with the help of bacteria. How did they do this – and what exactly is “Agar Art”?

What does Agar Art mean?

The term “Agar Art” stands for the art of creating colorful “paintings” with the help of microorganisms. In this process a nutrient medium – the agar – serves as a canvas, while the bacteria are used to “paint”. The difficulty in agar art is not only the perfect selection of culture medium and microorganisms, but also the accurate inoculation and the consideration of the possibly different growth speed of the different organisms. Some images of the most impressive results are available on the website of the ASM (American Society for Microbiology).

By the way, the first agar artist was Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin!

How did the neoFroxx logo get into the Petri dish?

Here is a brief insight into the challenging work of HiMedia’s microbiologists:

“Our QA and R & D team started working on the project by selecting exact colored pigment producing bacteria. After shortlisting the bacteria, the challenge was to have all these different color expressions by different bacteria on a single medium. So, we worked on many such media. We also used special pigment inducers to adjust the proper hue of the color. Having these resources compiled, the next task was to fine art these bacteria on this medium using microbiology tools and steady hands. Yogita Pankaj Phalke from our quality assurance team, winner of ASM-Agar Art contest 2017, started trials of this fine work. Finally, she succeeded to bring exact proportion of frog picture and text along with their beautiful color. She used very unique way to create bacterial text on agar. Thanks to our R & D, and QA team. A big thanks to our Directors Dr.Rahul Warke, Dr.G.M.Warke and Ms.Saroj Warke, not only for the encouragement but also for suggestions about selecting bacteria and agar percentages etc.”

These are the media and organisms finally used:

  1. Soybean Casein Digest Agar base (MH290) as solid medium
  2. Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 15542 – for green color
  3. Serratia marcescens ATCC 14756 – for red color
  4. Environmental isolate – for orange color
  5. Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923 – for white color
  6. Buffered Charcoal Yeast Extract Agar Medium (M813I) – for black color

Many thanks to the HiMedia team for this great work!