Scientific Art – Metal E. coli

Not really work from the lab: one for fun! I spent the weekend at a metal bug making workshop in West Dean College under the superb tutelage of Mike Savage: a very generous wedding present from a friend. I made an E. coli, which raised a few eyebrows among the fellow students! The E. coli is made of copper, aluminium and steel.


The “body” is made of several plates – these represent the mosaic nature of the E. coli genome. Most of the plates are copper, with an aluminium plate representing horizontal gene transfer. There are pili and a flagellum made of steel, and the rivets represent membrane proteins: receptors, channels etc. I also like the idea that most of the bug is made of copper – essential for E. coli in small quantities, with antimicrobial effect in higher quantities. Does this bug have resistance genes?





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