1. Beautiful, sustainable and bacteria-made! 🦠 These #AwesomeMicrobes can turn your clothes into a riot of colours! 🌈
Our Awesome Microbes of August are ready to go through the catwalk! Bacteria like Streptomyces coelicolor produce chemical compounds that can be used to dye clothes. These substances, unlike traditional dyes, are eco-friendly and biodegradable! Moreover, the colour of the dyes produced by these microbes depends on environmental conditions like pH, so every pattern of their creations is unique! 

2. “Plant calling #bacteria, do you copy me?“ 🌾📢 #Synbio could allow plants to communicate with nitrogen-fixing microbes that are vital for plant growing! 🦠👇
While plants cannot talk, it doesn’t mean they can’t communicate! In fact, they release molecules that attract and activate specific bacteria surrounding their roots. These bacteria feed on the nutrients the plants absorb and, in exchange, they help them grow. One of the most important things bacteria do for plants is providing nitrogen, a nutrient that is delivered within chemical fertilizers. Some plants like cereals are unable to attract nitrogen-fixing bacteria, but now researchers have managed to engineer them to do so! They engineered these plants to produce a substance that attracts nitrogen-fixing bacteria to the roots and activates them: rhizopine. This synthetic biology application may allow to increase the crop yields in nutrient-poor soils without using more chemical fertilizers! Read more>

3 . The International Space Station is calling up very special volunteers! 🐱‍🚀 🦠The mission? Mining valuable minerals from the Martian surface ⛏  Which #AwesomeMicrobe will be selected? 👇
Will extraterrestrial mining be possible? This is the question the BioRock experiment wants to answer! The miners in charge of this task will be bacteria, as some of them have the natural ability to leach minerals out of rocks. But first researchers need to check if these microbes will be able to perform in the space conditions – there’s almost no gravity! The BioRock experiment has been sent to the International Space Station to test three different types of mining bacteria. It will measure how they grow and how much of different elements they can pull out from the rocks in microgravity conditions. This project aims to gain insight about the possible uses of bacteria in space exploration. Microbes may become the next-generation astronauts! Read more>

4. This dazzling #AgarArt is called “The battle of winter and spring” ☀❄ It won the AgarArt contest of the @asmicrobiology in 2018! 🎨🦠 #Microbes can become real pieces of art! 🎨🧫: Ana Tsitsishvili, Agricultural University of Georgia
A battle is happening in this agar plate! It is a clash of two seasons, winter and spring, but it is also the race for survival of two microbes, struggling to win all the space and the nutrients. This amazing Agar Art made by Ana Tsitsishvili, from the Agricultural University of Georgia, was the winner of the American Society for Microbiology Agar Art contest of 2018. The winter was made using Staphylococcus and Bacillus mycoides; flowers are made of Serratia marcescens, and the spring is a combination of Micrococcus and Rhodotorula bacteria. We can’t wait to see the winner of this year’s contest! Read more>

Copyright by ASM

5. They may be tiny, but they are ready to fight! ⚔ Scientist have trained these #bacteria to help our immune system to kill cancerous cells! 🦠 Read more here! 👇
The immune system doesn’t only fight threats coming from the outside, but also from inside the body, like cancerous cells. To judge if a cell may be dangerous for the body, this system looks for a protein called CD47 in the cell’s surface. If it can’t find this protein, the immune system considers the cell as hazardous and kills it. This is how immune cells fight cancer but, regretfully, some cancerous cells produce CD47 to pass as “healthy” and deceive the immune system. Some bacteria in the body take advantage of this trick and tend to go inside these cancerous cells to avoid being killed by the immune system. Now researchers have come up with a strategy to profit from this bacterial behaviour! They have engineered them to produce a molecule that can attach to and block CD47 and thus make the cancerous cells  visible again for the immune system. Bacteria may become the heroes we have been waiting for in the fight against cancer! Read more>

6 . Graphene is called to be one of the materials of the future!  Maybe these #AwesomeMicrobes will have a say when producing it… 🦠 Read more here! 👇
Graphene is one of the most trendy materials nowadays. Its resistance and conductive properties make this carbon-based substance the most promising material for the electronics of the future. Yet, producing graphene in large quantities requires toxic chemicals that are harmful for the humans and for the environment. Bacteria may have a say in this problem! Usually, the graphene is obtained from a precursor form called graphene oxide. The process of converting this substance into pure graphene is the origin of the hazardous waste. Shewanella oneidensis bacteria can remove the oxides from graphene oxide, yielding pure graphene. This process requires less energy,produces a more stable material, and generates no toxic waste! Bacteria like these are called to lead the transition towards an eco-friendly material production! Read more>

7. #Some bacteria excel in Fine Arts… but only in one of these disciplines! 🎨 Painting or sculpting? 🖌⚒ Vote now in our #SynbioQuiz! 👇And the answer is… A! This Escherichia coli strain can create actual pictures! Researchers have engineered these bacteria with a gene system that allows them to sense red, green and blue light and to produce a pigment of the same colour as a response. For example, when these microbes receive a flash of red light, they reply producing a red pigment. Using this system, these bacteria can draw pictures with many different colours! This kind of experiments aim to look for different ways to turn genes on and off, in this case, using flashes of light. Read more >

8 . A submarine volcano may not be the cosiest environment, but #bacteria have managed to live there! 🌋🦠  These harsh conditions are similar to the ones found in a Saturn moon 🌑 Will alien life be similar to these #AwesomeMicrobes? 👽 Discover more here! Far beyond the Earth, there is a world with oceans like those that cover our planet. We are talking about Enceladus, Saturn’s sixth-largest moon and, according to astrobiologists, one of the most likely places to find life . Turns out this distant celestial body isn’t so different than some Earth locations, like the Lo’ihi seamount, in the southeastern coast of Hawaii’s Big Island! This moon is thought to have similar temperatures and pressures to the Hawaiian underwater volcano at some locations. Moreover, both the Lo’ihi volcano and Enceladus have openings in the seafloor that spew out a mix of hot water and minerals, called hydrothermal vents. Researchers have found that there are bacteria living in these structures in the underwater volcano! Who knows what we may find in other similar extraterrestrial worlds! Read more>

9. Welcome to #AgarArt 101! 👨‍🏫 In this video by researchers of @NEBiolabs you will learn how to make art using agar and #microbes! 🎨🦠 Hope you have fun! 👀
Every month we offer you an AgarArt challenge, so you can create a piece of art by growing different bacteria. This month, we have decided to give you an extra help! In this video you will find advice to make an Agar Art piece from scratch!  It is made by researchers of the New England Biolabs that won the American Society for Microbiology Agar Art contest of 2015, so we can learn something from them for sure! Watch the video>

10. “Mornings are for coffee and contemplation” ☕ And for #AgarArt too! Our #AgarArtChallenge of August is a tribute to #StrangerThings! 🎨 Show us your results! 👇 @Stranger_Things
Her short hair, her taste for Eggos, her mighty power… there are many things that make Eleven unforgettable! But, just in case, with the Agar Art of August we wanted to immortalize this character from the show Stranger Things. We can’t think of a better tribute than turning her into a piece of art using bacteria!