Biofilm Art Gallery

Welcome to the NBIC Biofilm Art Galley

In July 2022 we launched our Biofilm Create! Competition as part of our #BiofilmAware campaign, which works to raise awareness of NBIC and its research, and the many societal and economic impacts of biofilms. 

This gallery holds a number of entries from the art category of the competition. 

The competition winners were announced during #BiofilmWeek 2022 (18-24 November). Read our news article to view the winning entries.

Biofilm Photography

Aryana Zardkoohi-Burgos, University of East Anglia and Quadram Institute Bioscience

Kaleidoscopic biofilm

Description: This is an abstract depiction of a biofilm growing in a tubular structure

Biofilm Photography

Callum Highmore, University of Southampton 

I Am Not Myself

An acrylic painting inoculated with mould and biofilm. Photos were taken regularly as the polymicrobial community bloomed and declined across the face of the figure. In painting and microbial systems, control is understood in terms of occupation of physical space. I wanted to demonstrate that here with tight boundaries between painting and biofilm, and a teeming ecosystem of microbial populations pushing against each other.

Biofilm Photography

Ruby Tait, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh

Biofilms in depth

Description: Embroidered pieces depicting the range of biofilms research. The four embroidery hoops are inspired by the study of the movement of biofilms, the study of individual biofilms, the use in everyday products (through the discovery of biofilms in nato potentially used for stopping ice cream from melting, and the study of biofilms in biofouling.

Biofilm Photography

Norton Finn Robinson, Manchester Metropolitan University

Mother had never wanted this for you

Description: Poetry on SCOBY leather – Observation of the Anthropocene. It reads:

Mother had never wanted this for you

to be a part of thier motherboard

the ones who took the glow from your eyes.

They altered yours carbons

they made your organs unorganic

and then slowly they drew all of your goodness from within.

they made you like this

the ones that took the spark from your brain.

it was part of thier plan…

I just wish you could have realised sooner before the departure of humanity.

Biofilm Photography

Clare Stott, Liverpool John Moores University

Biofilm Towers

Description: View of a Biofilm built in Virtual Reality with planktonic bacteria and biofilm towers.

Biofilm Photography

Sam Church, Professor Emma Roe, Dr Paul Hurley, University of Southampton 

Microbial Neighbouring

Description: Set of drawings by Sam Church that narrate conversations in a workshop run by Emma Roe and Paul Hurley on Microbial Neighbouring, with members of the Global Network for Anti-Microbial Resistance and Infection Prevention (Global-NAMRIP). Download the PDF the set of drawings here.

Biofilm Photography

Norton Finn Robinson, Manchester Metropolitan University

Anthroparturire

Description: A photo of a SCOBY Biofilm stretched across a wooden frame, with a ring light and my hand positioned behind it. It symbolises a relationship between the human and non-human, whilst identifying the birth of the Anthropocene. It’s a showing of how we are pushing through the organic into a more uncertain future.

Biofilm Photography

Eleanore Sawyer, University of Southampton

Carriage at Capacity

Description: Multimedia painting of a railway carriage, imagined overrun by the biofilms and other nature. I illustrated this as my partner volunteers at the railway and disposes of these things practically, whereas I love to think of the strange bacteria and fungi species abstractly. Stachybotrys chartarum‘s mysterious mycotoxins always under debate. The very real antibacterial resistance of biofilms clinging onto public transport surfaces. Aspergillus and Penicillium stretching out palely across heritage furniture. That strange slimey extracellular matrix and the polymers that form it. By hand, the idle wondering is scrubbed away, and human beings return to travel.

Biofilm Photography

Eleanore Sawyer, University of Southampton

Chytridiomycosis

Description: Clay sculpture of a frog, with detailing on the skin and background aiming to impressionistically depict the fungal species Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which is responsible for the skins’ biofilm and resulting disease Amphibian Chytridiomycosis.

Clare Stott, Liverpool John Moores University

Flying through the Biofilm

Description: Am artistic rendering of a Biofilm built in Virtual Reality, which transports the viewer to a microscopic size, flying through and around biofilm towers and bacteria alike.

Clare Stott, Liverpool John Moores University

Swimming through the Biofilm

Description: An artistic interpretation of an aquatic biofilm built in Virtual Reality with original music. 

Biofilm Photography

Rosaria Campilongo, John Innes Centre

Discovery

Description: Mixed media painting of a bacterial plate section.

Biofilm Photography

Rory Claydon, University of Edinburgh

The effect of chaining on biofilm morphology

Description: Bacillus subtilis biofilms (aggregates of microorganisms) can produce beautiful emergent structures, with large looping filaments of bacteria which have chained together. The shape or morphology of the colony is an emergent property of the growth, and is greatly affected by the specific forces acting between cells. Here we show an example of the extreme case of a colony formed from single chain. The figure was made using discrete element simulations.

Biofilm Photography

Amber Hutchinson, David Blake, University of Southampton

Urban Affliction

Description: This fusion of abstract art and urban photography stands for a greater juxtaposition of man and nature. Using mixed media techniques I was able to create organic flows of paint in similar ways to biofilm growths, colonies of colour encroaching on the imposing cityscape of Hong Kong simulate the reality that biofilms are present everywhere, visible or not, and demand attention!

Biofilm Photography

Amber Hutchinson, University of Southampton

World’s of a Petri Dish

Description: An artistic impression of lab-grown petri dish bacterial biofilms. Inspiration for these twin petri dish pieces arose from mixed media experimentation to produce organic forms and structures. The closer you look the more branches, cells and colours you see. No two dishes can be made alike just as lab-grown bacteria, no matter how many controls are in place, will never grow biofilms identically.

Rory Claydon, University of Edinburgh

Evolution of colonies with different chaining probabilities 1

Description: As part of a study to understand the effect of chaining in Bacillus subtilis, we looked at changing the probability that cells link together when they divide. This has a massive impact on the resulting morphology of the colony, which we have been interested in studying. I wrote the simulations for this project and produced the movies.

Rory Claydon, University of Edinburgh

Evolution of colonies with different chaining probabilities 2

Description: As part of a study to understand the effect of chaining in Bacillus subtilis, we looked at changing the probability that cells link together when they divide. This has a massive impact on the resulting morphology of the colony, which we have been interested in studying. I wrote the simulations for this project and produced the movies.

Biofilm Photography

Jo Herbert, University of Portsmouth

Microbial Art Attack

Description: A series of Petri dish art attacks, drawing on the Petri dish to make the microbe into what it most looks like!

Biofilm Photography

Dr Irill Ishak, University of Bristol

The dying face of E. coli

Description: A seemingly dying E. coli cell lying on top of a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) nanospiked surface after incubated for 3 hours. The image was acquired using FEG-SEM at 75-degree tilt angle and magnified at 100000x magnification which revealed “the dying face” of E. coli where the “eyes” and “mouth” are the cell’s surface proteins while the flagella as the “arm” of the cell. Our research suggests that this particular bacterium is dying due to the interaction with the nanospikes. The nanospikes are stretching and rupturing the cell membrane which causes the bacterium unable to proliferate and eventually died, thus limiting the chances of biofilm formation. This image was acquired at Wolfson Bioimaging Facility at the University of Bristol by Dr Irill Ishak during his PhD. The backscattered and secondary electron micrographs were acquired, false-coloured in Adobe Photoshop, and combined to get the final image.

Christopher Campbell, University of Southampton 

Biofilms are Alive

Description: Video showing Pseudomonas Aeruginosa bacteria swimming throughout the biofilms they create.

Peng Bao, University of Liverpool

An unknown Bacterium

Description: An imagination of a new bacterium, generated with the help of an AI engine.

Biofilm Photography

Peng Bao, University of Liverpool

Fancy Biofilm

Description: A cartoon of biofilm, generated with the help of an AI engine.

Biofilm Photography

Ian Golding, University of Southampton 

Petri Constellation

Description: This is a small sculptural form that imagines the possible contents of a petri dish as imaginary planets in an ancient constellation map.

Clare Louise Halliday, University of Southampton 

Biofilm bubbles in Nuku Hiva

Description: Beautiful green bubbles appeared at the beach, like magic. I was mesmerised, this thin green coating on the water just as it reached the beach. 

Marie-Claire Catherine, University of South Wales

The microbial community

Description: Watercolor of a biofilm with different microorganisms forming an interdependent microbial community.

Biofilm Photography

Snehal Kadam, University of Hull

May your coffee be strong and your mixed-species infections be sensitive to antibiotics

Description: This is a biofilm-themed design I painted on a ceramic mug. The diamonds at the top represent antibiotics, and the bottom half of the mug is a biofilm made of different bacterial species in a matrix. This design is an artistic representation of my PhD project. I’m currently exploring multi-species bacterial communities in wound infections and their antibiotic resistance profile. I hope that my project contributes to our understanding of such communities and potentially has implications for the future of clinical diagnosis and infection-related healthcare!

Biofilm Photography

Jane Wood, University of Manchester

Is Biofilm the Future of Fashion? 1

Description: Biofilms created by Komagataeibacter xylinus display a mesh of bacterial cellulose nanofibrils when looked at under a scanning electron microscope. The biofilm has been labelled ‘vegetable leather’ by fashion designers and is being explored as an alternative, sustainable material for apparel. This image is a recreation of a micrograph using wool fibre and silk embroidery yarns.

Biofilm Photography

Jane Wood, University of Manchester

Is Biofilm the Future of Fashion? 2

Description: Biofilms created by Komagataeibacter xylinus display a mesh of bacterial cellulose nanofibrils when looked at under a scanning electron microscope. The biofilm has been labelled ‘vegetable leather’ by fashion designers and is being explored as an alternative, sustainable material for apparel.
This image is a recreation of a micrograph using wool fibre and silk embroidery yarns.

Biofilm Photography

Jane Wood, University of Manchester

Is Biofilm the Future of Fashion? 3

Description: Biofilms created by Komagataeibacter xylinus display a mesh of bacterial cellulose nanofibrils when looked at under a scanning electron microscope. The biofilm has been labelled ‘vegetable leather’ by fashion designers and is being explored as an alternative, sustainable material for apparel.
This image is a recreation of a micrograph using wool fibre and silk embroidery yarns.

Biofilm Photography

Jane Wood, University of Manchester

Is Biofilm the Future of Fashion? 4

Description: Biofilms created by Komagataeibacter xylinus display a mesh of bacterial cellulose nanofibrils when looked at under a scanning electron microscope. The biofilm has been labelled ‘vegetable leather’ by fashion designers and is being explored as an alternative, sustainable material for apparel.
This image is a recreation of a micrograph using wool fibre and silk embroidery yarns.

Biofilm Photography

Jane Wood, University of Manchester

Is Biofilm the Future of Fashion? 5

Description: Biofilms created by Komagataeibacter xylinus display a mesh of bacterial cellulose nanofibrils when looked at under a scanning electron microscope. The biofilm has been labelled ‘vegetable leather’ by fashion designers and is being explored as an alternative, sustainable material for apparel.
This image is a recreation of a micrograph using wool fibre and silk embroidery yarns.

Biofilm Photography

Shireen Ali, Osmania University

BIOFILM

Description: Illustration and poetry. Download the PDF here. 

Biofilm Photography

Eva Zanditenasa and Professor Serge Ankri, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

Predators approaching their prey

Description: The image was acquired using the inverted fluorescent confocal microscopy (X30). The 3D model (built with the imaris software) shows a mature B.subtilis biofilm (in red) and some E.histolytica trophozoites (in green) grazing on biofilm. E.histolytica is responsible for amoebiasis, a gastrointestinal disease present in developing countries. In the human gut, E.histolytica trophozoites feed on bacteria which often form biofilm. Bacterial biofilms are usually too big to be predated by protozoa. This picture is unique as it shows the parasite in action for breaking the biofilm and to capture individual bacteria as its prey. This image was acquired and processed at the Rappaport faculty of medicine at Technion university by Eva Zanditenas (PhD student) and Professor Serge Ankri.