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Generic modelling of cooperative growth patterns in bacterial colonies

Nature volume 368, pages 4649 (03 March 1994) | Download Citation

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Abstract

BACTERIAL colonies must often cope with unfavourable environmental conditions1,2. To do so, they have developed sophisticated modes of cooperative behaviour3–10. It has been found that such behaviour can cause bacterial colonies to exhibit complex growth patterns similar to those observed during non-equilibrium growth processes in non-living systems11; some of the qualitative features of the latter may be invoked to account for the complex patterns of bacterial growth12–18. Here we show that a simple model of bacterial growth can reproduce the salient features of the observed growth patterns. The model incorporates random walkers, representing aggregates of bacteria, which move in response to gradients in nutrient concentration and communicate with each other by means of chemotactic 'feedback'. These simple features allow the colony to respond efficiently to adverse growth conditions, and generate self-organization over a wide range of length scales.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. School of Physics and Astronomy, Raymond & Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv 69978, Israel

    • Eshel Ben-Jacob
    • , Ofer Schochet
    • , Adam Tenenbaum
    •  & Inon Cohen
  2. Department of Atomic Physics, Eötvös University, Budapest, Puskin u5-7, 1088 Hungary

    • Andras Czirók
    •  & Tamas Vicsek

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https://doi.org/10.1038/368046a0

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