Multitudes of microbes including bacteria, archaea and fungi make up the human microbiome—a diverse ecosystem that is vital to human health. Here three different strains of the bacterium Bacillus subtilis form crazy fractal patterns when allowed to grow and interact on an agar plate. As a result of studies such as these, scientists are beginning to understand the complex behaviors and importance of microorganisms to the human body in health and disease.
Watch for “I Contain Multitudes,” where acclaimed science writer Ed Yong leads a journey through the microbiomes of our planet—a realm of surprising alliances between microbes and larger creatures, including ourselves.
Technical Details: Three different strains of Bacillus subtilis were labelled with green, red and blue markers, and different concentrations of each strain were inoculated onto agar plates, and subsequently imaged using confocal microscopy.
Credit: Fernan Federici PhD, Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile with Tim Rudge PhD, Paul Steiner PhD, Anton Kan, PhD and Jim Haseloff, PhD, OpenPlant Synthetic Biology Centre, University of Cambridge, UK