A Bowl of Blue
Thomas C McLean, University of East Anglia
A bacterial colony of Streptomyces coelicolor growing on milk powder agar. A blue crater is formed from a combination of the pigmented antibiotic actinorhodin produced by the bacteria and the agarose enzyme secreted by the bacteria to break down the agar its growing on to use as a carbon source. For decades a substantial amount of research at the University of East Anglia, in collaboration with the John Innes Centre, has been centred around this fascinating and remarkable micro-organism and related actinomycetes to better understand their basic biology and to uncover new antibiotics.