The Colors Of Microbiology: Bacteria, Fungi & More

The Colors Of Microbiology: Bacteria, Fungi & More

The color of micro-organisms (fungi, bacteria, algae, and such) is due to different colored substances in the cells. For instance, bacteria use variants of chlorophyll (the green in plants) but absorb light of different wavelengths creating natural colors of purple, pink, green, yellow, orange, and brown.

While a few of the images have been color enhanced or stained with dyes for better viewing under a microscope, and the Petri dishes contain and added vivid color of a growth medium, microbiology is a wonderful source of color inspiration.

Photo by estherase
Hektoen agar staphylococcus aureu

Photo by estherase

Photo by estherase
urine plate unidentified unicell
Photo by Toby Ciranjiiva Tatsuyama-Kurk

Photo by euthman
small cell carcinoma Pancreas FNA
Photo by euthman

Photo by DavidJThomas
Fungi growing more Fungi growing

Photo by DavidJThomas

Photos by AJC1 & AJC1
Bartonella Helicobacter pylori

Photos by AJC1 & AJC1
Bacteriophage attack Pseudomonas

Photo by AJC1

Photo by AJC1

Color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph showing Salmonella typhimurium (red) invading cultured human cells.

Header photo by estherase

Sources: & microbeworld

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Showing 1 - 12 of 12 Comments

Pulp Fiction

It really shows you how colour is at the microscopic level.


how great :)
I did a pattern in honor of E.coli a while back.
Pteri Dish Colonies


This is a really cool article! thanks for posting :)

I made this a while back, it reminds me of photo #2
Petri Dish Discovery


My mother's a microbiologist. :D
I can't remember which type, but there's a strand of something related to MRSA that looks pretty neat. :)


This is pretty amazing! Cool post!


very cool. my brother's a microbiologist. i got him some giant microbes for Christmas. i think i first heard about them on this site.


Inspired by my dauly job with Escherichia coli :


E.coli + pdrive


You do know that microscopic images are not colorful at all. It is just grayscale. The captures are almost always colored in photoshop before being published.

I don't know about the culture dishes, but it is not uncommon for pictures in scientific publications to be pained on with colors for clarification.


Great post!

I agree with sublimice. Yet, my work revolves around creating an invented colorful microscopic world. So similar to these, but paintings not photos.


just wanted to clarify that colony-forming bacteria are actually colored in plates (depending on its agar)... one common example is the E.coli which really is in greenish metallic sheen (of course, in macroscopic view) it's not photoshop edited... and yes, an unstained smear will only produce a grayscale colored.. a much appreciated view would be a stained one.. it's a beauty..

but take note to handle it cautiously...


Wow the colors look pretty and nice. Thanks for sharing.

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