If you’ve ever forgotten a loaf of bread in the bread tin whilst on holidays, you’ll know some of the fantastic colours and patterns that natural mould can produce. But did you know that moulds, yeast and bacteria are now forming the pigments that scientists are using to create beautiful works of art?

Now in its third year, the American Society for Microbiology’s Agar Art contest attracts a staggering array of entries that just keep getting better. This year’s winner was New York scientist Jasmine Temple, who used yeast to ‘paint’ a watery sunset. Jasmine and her team spent a serious amount of time sourcing and even genetically manipulating yeast to produce the colours needed. Some of the yeast they used contained colour-producing genes scavenged from sea anemones and jellyfish.

Here are just a few of the stunning agar artworks. You can see the full collection and read some fascinating stories about how each was created at the Society’s Facebook page.


             Winner – Sunset at the End                                                                           Dye of the Tiger


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                             Finding Pneumo                                                      Trump (c’mon, you knew he’d be in there somewhere)