Swimming faster despite obstacles: a universal mechanism behind bacterial speed enhancement in complex fluids

Shashank Kamdar, Xiang Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Bacteria constitute about 15% of global biomass and their natural environments often contain polymers and colloids, which show complex flow behaviors. It is crucial to study their motion in such environments to understand their growth and spreading as well as to design synthetic microswimmers for biomedical applications. Bacterial motion in complex viscous environments, although extensively studied over the past six decades, still remains poorly understood. In our recent study combining experimental data and theoretical analysis, we found a surprising similarity between bacterial motion in dilute colloidal suspensions and polymer solutions, which challenged the established view on the role of polymer dynamics on bacterial speed enhancement. We subsequently developed a physical model that provides a universal mechanism explaining bacterial speed enhancement in complex fluids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-140
Number of pages2
JournalMicrobial Cell
Volume9
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is supported by the IPRIME program of University of Minnesota, and by the US National Science Foundation CBET-1702352 and 2028652. S.K. acknowledges partial funding support from PPG foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Kamdar and Cheng.

Keywords

  • Bacterial motility
  • Escherichia coli
  • colloids
  • complex fluids
  • fluid mechanics

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