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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mathematics reveals how fluid flow affects bacteria

Researchers from the University of Liverpool have used mathematical equations to shed new light on how flowing fluid hinders the movement of bacteria in their search for food.

Many bacteria are mobile and inhabit a variety of dynamic fluid environments: from turbulent oceans to medical devices such as catheters.

Photo: University of Liverpool 

Mathematicians from the Universities of Liverpool and Manchester developed a new set of equations to study how flowing fluid affected the movement of bacteria and how the swimming behaviour of the bacteria themselves affected their travel.

Bacteria can change their swimming direction when they encounter a chemical cue which allows them to move towards preferable environments and away from harmful chemicals.
Since the first attempts at classifying bacteria in the 17th century, shape has been an important feature, yet it is still not fully understood how shape affects the ability of bacteria to navigate their environments.
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Additional resources
Journal of Fluid Mechanics / Volume 771 / May 2015, R3 (13 pages)
© 2015 Cambridge University Press
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/jfm.2015.198 (About DOI)


Source: University of Liverpool 


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