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vividly colored culture flasks holding marine microbes from Waterbury Collection

Colorful Cultures

Culture flasks containing marine microorganisms could be the source of new treatments for cystic fibrosis, through work recently begun by WHOI microbiologist Tracy Mincer and the Flatley Discovery Lab in Charlestown, Mass. Several of the cultures are from the the collection established by John Waterbury, Freddy Valois, and Stanley Watson that has allowed scientists to explore many facets of microbial chemistry—including the possibility that some of the compounds produced by the organisms could have medical uses. Each flask contains a different kind of microorganism in a nutrient broth, which started out the same pale shade in all the flasks but after a week became colored due to natural pigments produced by the microbes.

(Photo by Athena Aicher, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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