Microbial Mosaics

While researching possibilities of items to make out of my ever-growing supply of kombucha SCOBYs, I came across a biodesign and consultancy company called MakeGrowLab. Based in Poland, MakeGrowLab has developed various SCOBY products, including packaging and lamp shades. During a chat with a representative from MakeGrow, I learned that the company originally used kombucha SCOBY material, but now uses SCOBY grown from agricultural waste. Although tea is efficient to work with, agricultural waste is cheaper, more sustainable, and the SCOBY feels different. Algae-based biomaterials have also been used for similar purposes, but SCOBYs have a longer shelf life and contain antimicrobial properties that algae materials do not. I recommend checking out their website – they sell sheets of their biomaterial, so if you are in need of a large SCOBY and do not have time to grow one you can contact them.


The microbiome cultures that I started several weeks ago have grown considerably, and I now have so many photographs of petri dishes I decided I must do something with them. To me the idea of creating some kind of “microbiome selfie” seemed appropriate, as my research is highlighting the prevalence of microbes and their importance in making us who we are. Below are two of the mosaics I generated using mosaically, with photographs of my own eye as the large images.

Mosaic 1
First mosaic – moderate coloration added
Mosaic 2
Second mosaic – minimal coloration added

Some of the plates appearing in these mosaics were dyed with coco powder. I have since done a little research into coco powder, and there appears to be evidence that it could improve gut health by enhancing the abundance of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in the intestinal tract. As I mentioned in a previous post, these are two of the same bacteria indicated as playing a role in Major Depressive Disorder. This could be good news for people like me, who are mildly addicted to all things chocolate.

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