While it's not news that cell phones harbor bacteria, it may be news to some that the bugs can come across looking so artsy.
As part of a study in bacteria transmission, Simon Park asked undergraduates in his Practical and Biomedical Bacteriology class at the U.K.'s University of Surrey to imprint their cell phones onto petri dishes filled with a bacteriological growth medium and wait a few days to see what bloomed. The result? A glimpse at some darn dirty devices.
"It seems that the mobile phone doesn't just remember telephone numbers but also harbors a history of our personal and physical contacts such as other people, soil, etcetera," Park says.
This bacteria-infested device, which looks like it could be a closeup of Bigfoot's finger, is Park's favorite of the bunch, he told Wired.co.uk.
"You can clearly see the outline of the phone on this, but the whole plate is covered by the spreading growth of a bacterium called Bacillus mycoides," he said. "This pattern of growth is unique to this bacterium, and because soil is its natural habitat, we know that this phone or its user had recently been in contact with soil. Each phone tells a story."
February 20, 2013 12:50 PM PST
Photo by: Simon Park/University of Surrey
| Caption by: Leslie Katz
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