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Fri Aug 17, 2018, 09:21 PM

Light-Reactive Bacteria Create Miniature 'Mona Lisa' Replica


Researchers transformed swimming bacteria into replica of the da Vinci masterpiece, morphing likenesses of Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin

By Meilan Solly
smithsonian.com
SMARTNEWS Keeping you current
Light-Reactive Bacteria Create Miniature ‘Mona Lisa’ Replica
Researchers transformed swimming bacteria into replica of the da Vinci masterpiece, morphing likenesses of Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin

By Meilan Solly
SMITHSONIAN.COM
AUGUST 17, 2018 12:19PM

Despite its association with tainted lettuce and potentially life-threatening infections, the Escherichia coli strain of bacteria is usually harmless—and surprisingly versatile. As Ryan F. Mandelbaum reports for Gizmodo, a team of Italian researchers recently capitalized on E. coli’s swimming skills (the bacteria can race across distances 10 times their length in just one second) to produce a millimetric replica of the world’s most famous work of art, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.”

The scientists’ research, newly detailed in eLife, revolves around E. coli’s flagellum, or tail. This minuscule motor propels the bacteria’s movement, enabling them to form distinct patterns, and can be controlled with the help of a light-sensitive protein called proteorhodopsin.

Although the protein is typically found in ocean-dwelling bacteria, Digital Trends’ Dyllan Furness writes that the team used genetic engineering to introduce it to E. coli and other bacteria strains. No longer reliant on oxygen to fuel their swims, these modified bacteria looked to light to guide their movements.

“Much like pedestrians who slow down their walking speed when they encounter a crowd, or cars that are stuck in traffic, swimming bacteria will spend more time in slower regions than in faster ones,” lead author Giacomo Frangipane, a physicist at the University of Rome in Italy, said in a statement. “We wanted to exploit this phenomenon to see if we could shape the concentration of bacteria using light.”

Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/light-reactive-bacteria-can-function-paint-living-building-blocks-180970062/#CwkoFgK6BVdWfWJf.99

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Reply Light-Reactive Bacteria Create Miniature 'Mona Lisa' Replica (Original post)
Judi Lynn Aug 2018 OP
sinkingfeeling Aug 2018 #1
LakeSuperiorView Aug 2018 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri Aug 17, 2018, 09:33 PM

1. Interesting, but weird.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 21, 2018, 03:28 PM

2. Very Interesting.

 

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