Beautifully terrifying, the handprint of Tasha Sturm’s eight year-old son is making waves around the microbe world. Sturm captured the swirls of bacteria and microorganisms on her son’s hand after playing outside on a Kirby Bauer plate in her in-home lab. The resulting image shows a flourish of yeasts, fungi and bacteria commonly found outdoors, and although harmless, could inspire a hand washing!

green design, eco design, sustainable design, bacteria. Tasha Sturm, bacterial handprint

The hand-shaped mosaic of colorful bursts and patterns from Sturm’s son’s hand are the results of several days of incubation. After her son played outside regularly for several hours, Sturm swiped his handprint on a sterilized Kirby Bauer plate treated with Tryptic Soy Agar (TSA), which the chemistry professor pours herself. After a few days of letting the natural bacteria and other substances flourish, the handprint really came to life in bold colors, textures and of course, a host of organisms.

Speckled throughout the shape of her son’s fingers and palm, Sturm found a cast of harmless organisms, some even beneficial to boosting the human immune system. Colorful bursts of yeast and fungi make up much of the handprint, as to the presence of Staph, Micrococcus and red-colored Serratia.

Sturm creates these handprints with her classes at Cabrillo College each semester as a way for her students to visualize the bacteria and microorganisms present in their daily lives. Although the existence of many of these organisms are good for us, we still feel like washing our hands!

RELATED | HOW TO: Eco Wash Your Hands Properly

+ Tasha Sturm

via This is Colossal