Humans have relied on microbes for millennia. Yeast brews our beer and raises our bread. Bacteria in our guts keep us healthy. Microscopic phytoplankton in the ocean produce half of the world’s oxygen. Thanks to genetic engineering, technology, and good old evolution, humans are about to enter into a new phase of our ancient partnership. We may soon create bacteria that eat plastic, emit light, and even tell us whether or not we’re healthy. When it comes to microbes, big things come from small packages.
Bacteria are traditionally perceived as infectious and unhealthy, but that is about to change. This week designer Jan van der Asdonk graduated from the Next Nature Lab at the TU/e Industrial Design Masters with a speculative yet full fledged product proposal called the FluDOC, which uses glowing bacteria to detect…
We’ve written earlier about man–made bacteria that eat waste & shit petrol. How about a genetically modified bacteria that can eat CO2 and excrete methane that could power our cars and homes? Abundant carbon dioxide, which is considered a pollutant, could be a nearly unlimited source of fuel. Will you…
Ever wished you could take a shower with pigeon poop? Artist Tuur van Balen proposes changing pigeons from flying rats to cleaning agents. A speculative, specially engineered bacteria, as harmless to pigeons as Lactobacillus is to humans, could potentially change pigeon excrement into biological soap. For Pigeon D’Or, van Balen…
The 1966 science-fiction movie Fantastic Voyage famously imagined using a tiny ship to combat disease inside the body. With the advent of nanotechnology, researchers are inching closer to creating something almost as fantastic. A microscopic device that could swim through the bloodstream and directly target the site of disease, such…
Remember the bacteria that eat waste and shit petrol? How about some microbes that eat plant waste and turn it in to sugar? Now you might say you have no need for sugar as you prefer diet-products. Sugar however, can be used to create ethanol, which in turn can be…
Bioluminescent bacteria light up these petri dishes
Bacteria “R” Us
There is a domain of creatures that diffusively encircles an entire planet. There are so many of them that they occupy every conceivable ecological niche. Yet, despite their countless numbers they are so in tune with their local ecology that they have become an intrinsic part of it. Those that live in rural locations greatly outnumber those that inhabit strange cites, which are gregarious, smart and even have their own personalities.…Read more
'An alien naturalist might consider humans as little more than smart city housing for bacterial colonies'
In 2009, undergraduates at the University of Cambridge worked with scientists and artists to engineer E. coli into E. chromi, a new type of bacteria that secretes a range of colorful pigments.
Bacteria That Eat Waste & Shit Petrol
Energy problem? Why not genetically alter bacteria to have them provide ‘renewable petroleum’. Crude oil is only a few molecular stages removed from the acids normally excreted by yeast or E. coli during fermentation, it does not take much fiddling to get the desired result.…Read more
We normally think of polluted water as the source of disease, not the cure for it. The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, affectionately known as the Super Fun Superfund, is one of the most polluted bodies of water in America. Most of the water is too low in oxygen to support plant or animal life.…Read more
Live with Micro-Algae
The Eco Pod is a experimental design proposal towards the production of clean and renewable energy, which should operate in old, abandoned buildings. Pending an eventual recovery, these buildings become vertical bioreactor that supports micro-algae which produce energy for the city.…Read more