Bacteria exploring Newtonian and non-Newtonian complex fluids: from behavioral variability to medium assisted tumbling
PMMH-ESPCI-PSL, Sorbonne University, University Paris-Cité
31 May 2022, 11:00 CET
Understanding the way motile micro-organisms such as bacteria explore their environment is central to many ecological, medical and biotechnological questions. Here, I will present recent advances on the actual spatial exploration process undertaken by flagellated bacteria such as E.coli, undergoing sequences of runs and tumbles, leading to a random-walk. The extreme sensitivity of the motor rotation switch (CCW/CW) to the presence of a phosphorylated protein (CheYP) in its vicinity, leads to a behavioral variability of run-times, characterized by a log-normal distribution . This mechanism prevails in most Newtonian fluids and has important consequences on the residence times at surfaces  as well as the large scale transport and dispersion in confined environments . However when the surrounding fluid is a yield-stress fluid, the locally high resistance to penetration takes control of the exploration process and the run persistence time distribution is strongly affected by the mechanical bending of the flagella bundle, hence controlling the spatial diffusivity as well as the onset of a motility barrier.
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 G. Junot et al., Run-to-tumble variability controls the surface residence times of E. coli bacteria, to appear in Phys. Rev. Lett. (2022).
 N. Figueroa-Morales et al., E.coli “super-contaminates” narrow channels fostered by broad motor switching statistics, Science Advances, 6, eaay0155 (2020).