Children smudging their hands onto every available surface is normally gross and annoying โ€” unless, that is, the available surface in question is a sterile plate, which you then incubate in a petri dish.

The image was created by Tasha Sturm, who used sterile plates and tryptic soy agar to capture the handprint from her 8 1/2-year-old son after he had been playing outside. After incubating the plate for a day in a 37-degree incubator, and then leaving at room temperature for a few more, you get the wonderfully colored flora and fungi you see above. [Microbe World via Kottke]

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Contact the author at chris@gizmodo.com.

Image credit: Tasha Sturm

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