Letter | Published:

Oriented Movement of Blue-Green Algæ on a Stretched Gel

Nature volume 159, pages 682683 (17 May 1947) | Download Citation



TROPISTIC and tactic responses to stresses in an elastic substrate have been described for several kinds of biological material. The true bacterium Kurthia zopfii, when grown in gelatin subjected to mechanical tension, reflects precisely in its pattern of growth the pattern of stresses in the substrate1–3 ; a similar response is shown by nerve fibres cultivated on stretched coagulated plasma4. Jacobsen1 proposed the name 'elasticotropism' for this type of behaviour. A few years ago, the corresponding tactic response was demonstrated in myxobacteria on stretched agar gels5. The effect of elasticotaxis in these organisms is particularly striking through its secondary influence on the fruiting process ; the rigidly oriented movement of the vegetative cells causes marked abnormalities in the shape and distributional pattern of the fruiting bodies.

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  1. 1.

    , Centr. Bakt., ii, 17, 53 (1907).

  2. 2.

    , Ann. Inst. Pasteur, 20, 1005 (1906).

  3. 3.

    , Ann. Inst. Pasteur, 21, 842 (1907).

  4. 4.

    , J. Exp. Zool., 68, 393 (1934).

  5. 5.

    , J. Bact., 44, 405 (1942).

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  1. Bacteriological Laboratories, Indiana University.

    • R. Y. STANIER


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