Biofilm Photography Competitions 2021: Winners Announced
In January 2021 we launched our first biofilm photography competitions as part of our #BiofilmAware campaign, which works to raise awareness of NBIC and its research, and the many societal and economic impacts of biofilms. We are pleased to announce the winners below.
The ‘Biofilms in Real Life’ competition was open to members of the public, researchers, academics, students and amateur photographers, whilst ‘Biofilms in the Lab’ offered an opportunity for scientists and researchers to submit images from their cutting-edge research.
Thank you very much for everyone who took part. The quality of the biofilm photography across both competitions was outstanding, and we are pleased to report that we received 95 entries in total, with 53 submissions for ‘Biofilms in Real Life’ and 42 for ‘Biofilms in the Lab’. Amazon gift cards were awarded to first (£500), second (£250) and third place (£125) in both competitions. Prizes were made available due to a kind donation from a friend of NBIC.
Visit our Biofilm Image Gallery to view a selection of the entries received.
Biofilms in Real Life Winners
1st Place: Mark Burton, University of Southampton
This is a close-up image of the biofilm that covers the scales of a Mirror Carp caught by myself, from a private estate lake in Southampton. The mirror carp have beautiful scale patterns that are distinct to each fish. The mucus biofilm that covers the scales can clearly be seen with the reflection of the sky above glistening in the sun, almost acting as a mirror, hence the title Mirror, Mirror. When catching these beautiful fish, the biofilm is preserved by unhooking on padded wet mats and all fish are returned safely to the lakes after photography, as the mucus biofilms are colonised by beneficial bacterial forming a hydrogel interface and favourable microenvironment which support the barrier to the fish from the outside environment.
2nd Place: Callum Highmore, University of Southampton
I sculpted a landscape out of food (various) and incubated it for a few weeks, adding extra food and spraying with sugary water at different times, to get a range of microbes growing. Image brightness and contrast adjusted slightly.
3rd Place: Jennifer Dewing, University of Southampton
Paint me a ‘Slimescape’
This photograph was taken at a small, quiet lake in Chandlers Ford, Hampshire. At the shallow end of the lake this bright orange ‘slime’ collects along the edges of the water as a result of bacteria that oxidises the iron released from the ground water. The reflection in the water of the blue sky above balances the bright oranges and yellows of the slime.
Biofilms in the Lab Winners
1st Place: Kiril Kalenderski, University of Nottingham
‘Clinical biomineralized biofilm formed on a urinary catheter device’
A coloured environmental scanning electron microscope image (ESEM) of a biomineralized biofilm formed on a clinical urinary catheter device. Struvite minerals are coloured in orange, apatite minerals are coloured in yellow, and the biofilm structure is coloured in purple. Magnification- 500x. Image Production: Kiril Rosenov Kalenderski and Nicola Weston. Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre, University of Nottingham.
2nd Place: Maria Paula Huertas Caycedo, University of Dundee
‘Bacillus subtilis biofilm formation’
Biofilm formation of B. subtilis on LBGM medium.
3rd Place: Kiril Kalenderski, University of Nottingham
‘Struvite and calcium carbonate minerals enmeshed within a urinary catheter biofilm’
Large struvite (yellow) and circular calcium carbonate (orange) minerals enmeshed within a biofilm (purple) formed on a urinary catheter (green). Calcite (calcium carbonate) and struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) are among the most common types of minerals associated with biofilms linked to symptomatic CAUTI manifestations. Magnification: 1000x. Image Production: Kiril Rosenov Kalenderski and Nicola Weston. Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre, University of Nottingham.
Our diverse panel of 6 judges took part in an unbiased and anonymous judging process. Each judge considered the creativity, originality, composition, imagination used, scientific value and the overall artistic impression of each image.
We sincerely thank the judging panel for their time and efforts in supporting our competitions.
Chris Denning: Director of the University of Nottingham’s Biodiscovery Institute.
Paul Maguire: Freelance Photographer, with a background in Earth science and exploration.
Laura Pritchard: Senior Innovation Manager at the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).