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Surprising beauty found in bacterial cultures



Microbial communities inhabit every ecosystem on Earth, from soil to rivers to the human gut. While monoclonal cultures often exist in labs, in the real world, many different microbial species inhabit the same space. Researchers at University of California San Diego have discovered that when certain microbes pair up, stunning floral patterns emerge.

In a paper published in a recent issue of eLife, a team of researchers at UC San Diego’s BioCircuits Institute (BCI) and Department of Physics, led by Research Scientist and BCI Associate Director Lev Tsimring, reports that when non-motile E. coli (Escherichia coli) are placed on an agar surface together with motile A. baylyi (Acinetobacter baylyi), the E. coli “catch a wave” at the front of expanding A. baylyi colony.

The agar provided food for the bacteria and also a surface on which E. coli couldn’t easily move (making it non-motile). A. baylyi, on the other hand, can crawl readily across the agar using microscopic legs called pili. Thus, a droplet of pure E. coli would barely spread over a 24-hour period, while a droplet of pure A. baylyi would cover the entire area of the petri dish.

Yet when the E. coli and A. baylyi were mixed together in the initial droplet, both strains flourished and spread across the whole area as the non-motile E. coli hitched a ride on the highly mobile A. baylyi. However, what most surprised researchers were intricate flower-like patterns that emerged in the growing colony over a 24-hour period.

“We were actually mixing these two bacterial species for another project, but one morning I found a mysterious flower-like pattern in a petri dish where a day earlier I placed a droplet of the mixture. The beauty of the pattern struck me, and I began to wonder how bacterial cells could interact with each other to become artists,” said Liyang Xiong, Ph.D. ’19, who was a graduate student in the Physics Department and is the lead author of the study.

To uncover how the flower patterns were formed, Xiong et al. developed mathematical models that took into account the different physical properties of the two strains, primarily the differences in their growth rate, motility, and effective friction against the agar surface. The theoretical and computational analysis showed that the pattern formation originates at the expanding boundary of the colony, which becomes unstable due to drag exerted by the E. coli that accumulate there.

In areas where there is less E. coli accumulation, there is also less friction, allowing the boundaries to push out faster. In the areas where there is more E. coli accumulation and more friction, the boundaries stagnate. This is what creates the “petals” of the flower.

Further analysis suggests this type of pattern is expected to form when motile bacteria are mixed with a non-motile strain that has a sufficiently higher growth rate and/or effective surface friction, which could have important implications in studying growing biofilms.

Biofilms are communities of microorganisms–including bacteria and fungi–that adhere to each other and to surfaces, creating strong matrices that are difficult to break down. Common examples include dental plaque and pond scum. They also grow in medical devices such as pacemakers and catheters. Learning how non-motile bacteria can “stick” to motile bacteria may provide insight into how biofilms are formed and how they can be eliminated.

“Bacterial pattern formation has been an active area of research in the last few decades,” said Lev Tsimring, “However, the majority of laboratory studies and theoretical models were focused on the dynamics of single-strain colonies. Most bacteria in natural habitats live in multi-strain communities, and researchers are finally beginning to look for mechanisms controlling their co-habitation. While a number of biochemical mechanisms of inter-species communication and cooperation have been identified, we found that surprising complexity may result from purely physical interaction mechanisms.”


The BioCircuits Institute (BCI) is a multidisciplinary research unit that focuses on understanding the dynamic properties of biological regulatory circuits that span the scales of biology, from intracellular regulatory modules to population dynamics and organ function. BCI seeks to develop and validate theoretical and computational models to understand, predict and control complex biological functions. The institute is comprised of over 50 faculty from UC San Diego and other local institutions, including Scripps Research, the Salk Institute, and the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.

Other researchers involved in this project are Robert Cooper, Jeff Hasty, Yuansheng Cao and Wouter-Jan Rappel, all with UC San Diego. This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant R01-GM069811), the National Science Foundation (grant PHY-1707637), San Diego Center for Systems Biology (NIH grant P50-GM085764) and the DOD Office of Naval Research (grant N00014-16-1-2093).

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.



Trailer "Sleepless Beauty"/ Pavel Khvaleev




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R&R Luxury (Shea) | British Beauty Blogger




[samples] The thing with shea based products is that their texture can vary wildly so you really need to know what textures you prefer. When it comes to shea butter balms, I’m in the work-it-in camp especially for feet and elbows because the massage element makes you feel you’re really doing something for your skin.

R&R Luxury (Shea)

Shea can be quite reactive to surrounding temperatures, so more solid in colder climates and more liquid and soft in warm – if you like a very liquid texture, you’d choose a shea oil. I’ve been testing out the Whipped Shea Butter in the Serenity fragrance and the Shea Sugar Scrub in the Revive range. The butter is less whippy than I’d expect but saying that, it’s cold!! The over-riding scent is the typical nutty shea one with lower notes of lavender and ylang ylang. It’s really lovely – like a sort of holiday scent. I’d say it’s best for very dry areas rather than a whole body hydration because it’s not like a lotion, but I spent a happy time massaging it all over the backs of my hands, my fingers and my feet, all of which were quite silky afterwards. It’s so reasonable as well at £13 (annoyingly, sold out at the moment but there will be more stock to come) and you can also use it to bring your tattoos back to life with a skin sheen.

R&R Luxury

It looks like ice-cream in the tub! The scrub is a huge blast of lemongrass – I see why it’s called ‘revive’ because it’s deliciously lemony. I’m not sure the sugar is in the right proportion to the base – I’d like to have seen more grains – but I can guarantee soft skin that feels properly pampered afterwards. It’s £18 and again, I’d recommend as a dry-bit solution rather than the full body treatment. There’s a good selection of products including body oils (all in stock) and that’s your preference, head to lemongrass.

R&R Luxury

The formulas are all refreshingly simple (and vegan)  – for example, the whipped shea contains Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Lavender Oil, Bergamot Oil and Ylang Ylang Oil and that’s it so they tap nicely into the trend for less being more. At the same time, the shea is processed by a women’s co-operative in Ghana (where the entire range hails from) and packaged in recyclable plastic. The Geranium candle has been on the burn in my kitchen over the past couple of days and gives a beautiful blast of geranium that won’t knock your socks off but will just nicely wrap you. You can find R&R Luxury HERE with oils, soaps, lip balms and body creams.

*all products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.


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International Beauty Innovation Summit: Arizona, United States – March 2-3, 2020




The “International Beauty Innovation Summit” conference has been added to’s offering.

In an era in which consumers can buy anything online, the customer experience becomes more and more important to build an emotional connection and drive sales. Product presentation, for instance, can go a long way to stimulate purchase behavior. Successful beauty brands and retailers differentiate themselves through signature moments that are directly aligned to their brand. This experience should be consistent and seamless across all relevant platforms and often budding emphasis on experience provides a distinct advantage to smaller, more agile brands and retailers.

Join us at the next summit to prepare for these industry-wide shifts. We invite most innovative brands and retailers to share real-life case studies and learnings on the results of greater personalization, loyalty, seamless journey on and offline, mobile commerce.


Monday, March 2, 2020

08.00 am – Breakfast in Pavilion Room and Registration

08:45 am – Chairman’s opening remarks

09:00 am – TECHNOLOGY. Opening keynote: Experience the Future

  • Jennifer Tidy, VP Partnerships, Modiface

09:20 am – ASIAN AGE. How E-Commerce is Beautifully Relevant to Millennials & Gen Z in China

  • Terry Wang, General Manager, JD Beauty,

09:40 am – ASIAN AGE. The India Opportunity

  • Rishi Seth, VP International Business, Nykaa.

10:00 am – EXPERIENCE ECONOMY. Young, Bold and Beautiful.

  • Hana Ben-Shabat, Founder, Gen Z Planet.

10:20 am – Morning Refreshments Break

10:50 am – EXPERIENCE ECONOMY Managing Creative Disruption Through Collaborations

  • Donald Robertson, SVP Creative Director, Estee Lauder

11:10 am – CONSUMER TRUST. Let’s Be Honest: Brand Transparency and Consumer Trust

11:30 pm – TECHNOLOGY. Pinterest Master Class

  • Rachel Goodman, Head of Partnerships, Pinterest.

12:30 pm – Networking Lunch

2:00 pm – EXPERIENCE ECONOMY Interactive Brainstorming

3:30 pm – Afternoon Refreshments Break

4:00 pm – CONSUMER TRUST. Fireside Chat with Christopher Gavigan, Founder of Prima and Honest Company

  • Facilitator: Kelly Kovack, Founder, BeautyMatter

4:20 pm – CLIMATE. Attacking Disposability: Solutions to Our Single-Use Crisis

  • Tony Rossi, VP Loop Global Business Development, Loop, (TerraCycle Company)

4:40 pm – CLIMATE. The Climate Decade Panel

  • Facilitator: Jillian Wright, Co-Founder, Indie Beauty Media Group

5:20 pm – CLIMATE. Celebration of The Blue Beauty Award, recognizing a brand or product that is innovative in its sustainability and ability to make a positive impact on the environment.

  • This category was created in collaboration with Jeannie Jarnot, Beauty Heroes, a leading healthy beauty retailer and discovery platform leading the Blue Beauty movement.

5:40 pm – Networking Drinks Reception

7:00 pm – Speakers Dinner and VIPs Dinner

9:15 pm – After-Hours Hangout (not covered by summit organizers).

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

08.45 am – Registration and Refreshments

08:50 am – Opening remarks by Chairman

09:10 am – CLIMATE Win Disrupting beauty socially, environmentally and commercially

  • Tina Hedges, Founder, and CEO, LOLI Beauty

09:30 am – Elevating Brand Story Telling Through Retail Experiences.

  • Julien Bouzitat, VP, Head of Brands, Amorepacific US

9:50 am – EXPERIENCE ECONOMY. Best retail experiences that keep customers coming back

  • Facilitator: – Kelly Kovack
  • Participants: Aaron Chatterley, Founder,; Jessica Hanson, US President, Amorepacific
  • Hani Jabbour, Chief Operation Officer Beauty, Chalhoub Group, Muffy Clince, Director Emerging Brands, ULTA Beauty

10:30 am – Morning Refreshments Break

11:00 am – NEW BRANDS TO WATCH Keynote TBC.

  • Opening presentation by Brandon Ford, Chief Accelerator, Lubrizol Life Science

Most promising new brands to watch!

11:20 am – NEW BRANDS TO WATCH. Using Social Media to Create Community & Destigmatize Taboo

11:35 am – NEW BRANDS TO WATCH. Shaping the future of beauty

  • Grace Choi, Co-Founder and CEO, Mink Beauty


  • Jaleh Bisharat, Co-Founder and CEO, NakedPoppy
  • Curated beauty marketplace for wellness junky pushing toward transparency in ingredients and production

12:30 pm – Chairman’s closing remarks

3:00 pm – 6:00 pm – NEW BRANDS TO WATCH. Tabletop exhibition opened for local consumers, media and influencers.


INNOCOS All-Stars:

  • Jennifer Tidy, SVP Partnership, Modiface, L’Oreal Company
  • Terry Wang, General Manager, JD Beauty,
  • Donald Robertson, SVP Creative Director, Estee Lauder
  • Jessica Hanson, US President, Amorepacific US
  • Brandon Ford, Chief Accelerator Director – Lubrizol Life Science
  • Christopher Gavigan, Founder, Prima & Honest Company
  • Jeannie Jarnot, Founder and CEO, Beauty Heroes
  • Tina Hedge, Founder, LOLI Beauty
  • Hana Ben-Shabat, Founder, Gen Z Planet.
  • Daniel Langer, Founder, and CEO, quit

And More Amazing Speakers:

  • Hani Jabbour, Chief Operation Officer Beauty, Chalhoub Group
  • Rishi Seth, VP International Business, Nykaa
  • Muffy Clince, Director Emerging Brands, ULTA Beauty
  • Aaron Chatterley, Founder,
  • Rachel Goodman, Head of Partnerships, Pinterest
  • Julien Bouzitat, VP, Head of Brands, Innisfree
  • Jaleh Bisharat, Co-founder and CEO, NakedPoppy
  • Grace Choi, Co-Founder, and CEO, Mink Beauty
  • KJ Miller, Co-Founder, and CEO, Mented Cosmetics
  • Laura Schubert, CEO, Fur
  • Tony Rossi, VP Loop Global Business Development, Loop, (TerraCycle Company)
  • Catharine Arnston, Founder and CEO, Energybits

For more information about this conference visit

View source version on

Laura Wood, Senior Press Manager
For E.S.T Office Hours Call 1-917-300-0470
For U.S./CAN Toll Free Call 1-800-526-8630
For GMT Office Hours Call +353-1-416-8900


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