Visual of Microbial Factories

Microbial Factories

Bigger isn’t always better

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.

Staff Picks

Bioluminescent bacteria light up these petri dishes
‘An alien naturalist might consider humans as little more than smart city housing for bacterial colonies’
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Bacteria "R" Us

Rachel Armstrong

There is a domain of creatures that diffusively encircles an entire planet. There are so many of them that they occupy …

E. Chromi

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.

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Bacteria That Eat Waste & Shit Petrol

Van Mensvoort

Energy problem? Why not genetically alter bacteria to have them provide 'renewable petroleum'. Crude oil is only a few …

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Evolutionary Janitors

Allison Guy

We normally think of polluted water as the source of disease, not the cure for it. The Gowanus Canal in …

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Live with Micro-Algae


The Eco Pod is a experimental design proposal towards the production of clean and renewable energy, which should …