The image shows a colony of the Flavobacterium IR1, 2 cm in diameter, growing on a nutrient agar plate. The cells in the colony are highly organized, thus forming a 2-D photonic crystal that interferes with light. This results in structurally colored bright and angle-specific hues with a concentric ring pattern indicating subtle changes in organization. The older cells of IR1 in the colony centre are more disorganized and therefore loses color. IR1 can be genetically modified from this wild-type strain to create new, living photonic structures. | University of Cambridge

Brightly Colored Bacteria Engineered Into Living Paint

A new, organic technique produces non-toxic, biodegradable paints that shine as brilliantly as peacock feathers and butterfly wings.