This could potentially convert hypochondriacs everywhere.
Normally we shrink away from germy, dirty things, but this is one of those rare instances where we can find beauty in something that grosses us out. Tasha Sturm, a lab technician at Cabrillo College in California, created images that illustrate the life of microbes that exist on our skin and in our immediate environments.
The colourful handprint is her 8-year-old son’s, which he placed gently in a petri dish after playing outside. She used tryptic soy agar, which forms a nutritious jelly perfect for growing microbial cultures. Microbes create colonies of different colours, shapes, textures and sizes. In this case, the colours result from bacteria, yeast and fungi.
And don’t be afraid — it’s perfectly normal for all humans to have this sort of stuff on us at all times, especially a young boy playing outside.
Sturm explains the whole (semi-complicated) process on MicrobeWorld.org, should you want to try the same experiment with your child. Check out the dazzling photos, below.