Banana Bacteria (2011)

by C_LAB

Banana bacteria is an olfactory exhibit using living bacteria that produce a banana-like odour rather than the foul smell normally associated with bacteria.

Full Description

These bacteria have been genetically altered by removing a gene responsible for the foul smell commonly found in bacteria and adding a genetic design that enable bacteria to synthetically produce banana oil. Finally, we grow the bacteria in a special odourless media.

The work combines several techniques and constructs, in particular it uses a genetic design developed by a team at MIT (iGEM 2006) for the synthetically production of banana oil.

C-LAB explores how new metabolic possibilities emerges through synthetic biology. Scientifically, it illustrates how synthetic biology can make an impact on the flavouring industry.

Artistically, it provides us with awareness that both confuses and challenges our senses; the foul warning smell of bacteria is exchanged with the sweet smell of banana. The display allures to future scenarios where synthetic odour could be produced by bacteria inhabiting humans, such as replacing bad breath with a minty fresh breath.

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