Striking photo shows all the bacteria on an 8-year-old's hand
Behold some of the bacteria that grew when a boy who had been playing outside pressed his hand onto a Petri dish.
By Michelle Connolly
October 06 2019
Tasha Sturm, a lab technician at Cabrillo College in California, has created an extraordinary set of images that illustrate the diverse world of microbes that lives on our skin.
This colourful petri dish is full of bacteria, yeast, and fungi that were found on her 8-year-old son’s hand after he finished playing outside.
“It’s partly to show that there are microbes everywhere,” said Tasha, noting her two kids enjoyed replicating some of the tests at home and that her son had been particularly interested in checking out what was on his hands.
By the time she took the photo, the bacteria had been growing for about a week. Her son’s reaction to the results?
“He said, ‘that’s cool.’ And then my daughter said, 'Let’s do the dog’s nose, let’s do the paw, let’s do the cat’s tail,'” Tasha recalled.
Sturm believed the large white circle in the bottom right of the photo was Bacillus, which is commonly found in dirt. Some of the other white spots may be staph, or Staphylococcus, she said, while the yellow and orange spots may be yeast.
“It’s normal stuff that we’re exposed to every day. The skin protects us from a lot of the bad stuff out there,” Sturm said. “The take home message is that to have a healthy immune system, you’ve got to be exposed to stuff.”