The Biosynth Gallery of Bacteria



About the artist

Bacillus subitilis are Gram-positive bacteria with rod-shaped cells. They are naturally found in soil and vegetation. As stress and starvation are common in its environment B. subtilis has evolved strategies that allow survival under these harsh conditions. One strategy, for example, is the formation of stress-resistant endospores. B. subtilis is usually considered non-pathogenic. Even though these bacteria can contaminate food, they seldom result in food poisoning. They are even used as a natural fungicide on plants.

Campylobacter jejuni
Campylobacter jejuni is a Gram-negative spiral shaped bacteria and a microaerophilic organism. It has one flagellum at one pole or both poles of the cell. It is found in the intestines of many warm blooded animals and is a human pathogen. During the pathogenesis process, the organism first begins by penetrating the gastrointestinal mucus using its motility and spiral shape. The early symptom of Campylobacter infection is usually abdominal pain and is then followed by bloody diarrhea.

Listeria monocytogenes
Listeria monocytogenes are Gram-positive and rod-shaped bacteria that can resist freezing, drying and heat. It is a human pathogen that may specifically be found in raw foods, such as unpasteurized milk, raw vegetables, raw and even cooked poultry. With its ability to grow at low temperatures it may grow in refrigerated foods. L. monocytogenes causes the severe disease listeriosis in humans, with common manifestations in septicemia, encephalitis, pneumonia, and cervical infections in pregnant women, which may have resulted in spontaneous abortion or stillbirth.

MRSA (Tribus Staphylococceae)
Staphylococcus aureus is a spherical bacterium that can be found naturally on the skin and in the mucus membranes of humans. The microbe is spread most commonly through human contact hand-to-hand, from a wound secretion or mucus. If the bacterium is able to enter the body (often through wounds or sores) it can cause a number of infections including those of the bloodstream which can become fatal. Originally treated by penicillin, S. aureus infections quickly developed resistance to this antibiotic as well as almost all other beta-lactam antibiotics. When S. aureus developed resistance to the antibiotic methicillin through the mecA gene (located on a mobile genetic element) the bacterium became a major concern for its spread especially in hospitals as well as the difficulty of treating the now methicillin-resistant infections (MRSA infections).

Neisseria meningitidis is a Gram-negative, coccal bacterium. It is an aerobic organism with catalase and oxidase activity. The bacterium is responsible for causing meningitis that is the inflammation of the meninges layer covering the brain. N. meningitidis produces large amounts of the endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) especially during the exponential growth phase. People with a weakened immune system are at greater mortality risk which is why most victims are children.

Streptococcus pyogenes
Streptococcus pyogenes is a gram-positive bacterium and usually grows in pairs or chains. S. pyogenes is also known as the flesh eating bacteria; when cultured on a blood agar plate all the red blood cells are ruptured by the bacteria. S. pyogenes affects its hosts in many different ways and causes a large range of diseases. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports mild to severe symptoms such as fever, pain, dizziness, and red rash at wound site. S. pyogenes usually begins infection on the surface of the skin or in the throat and may spread into deeper areas of the skin.

About the artist:

The pictures in this gallery are courtesy of Urs Woy. This Swiss artist is a member of a generation of professional graphic artists who observe, illustrate and interpret biological structures for print media such as text books and catalogs. Urs Woy is a renown illustrator of scientific drawings of animal anatomy, and his work as an illustrator for children’s animal books is also must appreciated.

Urs Woy used electron microscope images of some of the most important bacteria species and has drawn his interpretations of the specific features of each of the bacteria for Biosynth.

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