Ana Lisa

E. chromi Designer Bacteria Will Color Your Poop According to What Ails You

by , 01/25/12

Design for Health, designer bacteria, cientific design, royal college of art, University of Cambridge's iGEM, poo,Poo Power!, colored poo, illness,e. chromi

E. chromi is an experimental collaboration between designers and scientists working in the field of synthetic biology. Royal College of Art graduates’ James King and Daisy Ginsberg, together with University of Cambridge’s iGEM 2009 Biology team, are developing a cheap, personalized disease monitoring system that works from the inside out. By color-coding diseases and giving a patient an E. Coli bacteria-engineered drink — much like a probiotic shake — sick patients could soon find out what ails them by simply checking the color of their poop!


Design for Health, designer bacteria, cientific design, royal college of art, University of Cambridge's iGEM, poo,Poo Power!, colored poo, illness,e. chromi

Ginsberg, one of the designers in the team, explains how the bacteria works: “The patient ingests a drink, much like a probiotic shake, laced with the engineered E. coli; the bacteria react with the enzymes, proteins, and other chemicals that are present in the gastrointestinal tract and turn different colors for different diseases, thus changing the color of the patient’s feces.”

A finalist in last year’s Index Awards, and a winner of the World Technology Awards, E. chromi’s design gives us access to the complex networks and systems of the human body. Moreover, E. chromi has valuable, real-life applications for many disciplines outside of the medical word. In the future, chemical-free colorings and dyes made by bacteria could be used in food, and in the textiles industry, producers can use the new pigments as dye for clothing.

+ E. chromi

+ Daisy Ginsberg

Photo © Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg & James King

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5 Comments

  1. Patrick Jordan August 29, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    Given that 90% of diseases were created by Jenner and his successors, none of this is even necessary.

  2. Alex Wilt July 31, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    and fun to color coordinate with your favorite holidays…

  3. El Incognito December 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Beautiful science

  4. GreenPoopAndLamb May 30, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Apart from the weird stage I went through in high school, I’ve never wanted colorectal cancer as much as I do right now. Green poop best poop

  5. natural run February 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    I think it very important that people become aware that the drugs that they take also go back to the earth, The health we eat the health we but back to the earth We can make a difference in this world by what we take into our body and what we let go from our body

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