Agar art winner 2019

Prolonged spaceflight is dependent on control of environmental parameters. ESA’s BIOFILMS project studies the use of metallic copper as an antibacterial agent. Therefore, on the right, copper coupons are placed on the agar, and a desolate landscape painted in red fluorescent Cupriavidus metallidurans CH34 can be seen, reminiscent of the bactericidal properties of this metal. In stark contrast, stainless steel coupons are placed on the left, and are overgrown with a lush vegetation of green fluorescent C. metallidurans CH43. This in turn signifies the extensive biofilms able to grow on the alloy. Cupriavidus metallidurans CH34 was chosen as it is an extremely metal-resistant model organism in the BIOFILMS project. The agar used is 284MM supplied with gluconate and phenylalanine, an agar often used when studying heavy metals.