Bacterial finite-size effects for population expansion under flow
Starts 15 May 2017 14:30
Ends 15 May 2017 15:30
Central European Time
Central Area, 2nd floor, old SISSA building
Via Beirut, Trieste
For organisms living in a liquid ecosystem, flow and flow gradients have a dual role as they transport nutrient while, at the same time, dispersing the individuals. In absence of flow and under homogeneous conditions, the growth of a population towards an empty region is usually described by a reaction-diffusion equation. The effect of fluid flow is not yet well understood and the interplay between transport of individuals and growth opens a wide scenario of possible behaviors. In this work, we study experimentally the dynamics of non-motile E. coli bacteria colonies spreading inside rectangular channels, in PDMS microfluidic devices. By use of a fluorescent microscope we analyze the dynamics of the population density subjected to different co- and counter-flow conditions and shear rates. A simple model incorporating growth, dispersion and drift of finite size beads is able to explain the experimental findings. This indicates that models based on the Fisher-Kolmogorov-Petrovsky-Piscounov equation (FKPP) may have to be supplemented with bacterial finite-size effects in order to be able to accurately reproduce experimental results for population spatial growth.