Bacterial glitter: New findings open up possibilities for sustainable color technologies

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The colours of the marine bacterium Marinobacter alginolytica are due to ordered
The colours of the marine bacterium Marinobacter alginolytica are due to ordered bacterial cells forming a photonic crystal, producing colour by interference effects. Picture: Colin Ingham

An international team of researchers has investigated the mechanism that makes some types of bacteria reflect light without using pigments. The researchers were interested in the genes responsible and discovered important ecological connections. These findings were published in the current issue of the renowned journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The iridescent colours known from peacock feathers or butterfly wings are created by tiny structures that reflect light in a special way. Some bacterial colonies form similar glittering structures. ...

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