Cooperative strategies and genome cybernetics in formation of complex bacterial patterns

Eshel Ben-Jacob, Ofer Shochet, Inon Cohen, Adam Tenenbaum, Andras Czirok, Tamas Vicsek

Research output: Conference article


We present a study of interfacial pattern formation during growth of bacterial colonies. Growth of bacterial colonies bears similarities but presents an inherent additional level of complexity in comparison with non-living systems. In the former case, the building blocks themselves are living systems, each with its own autonomous self-interest and internal degrees of freedom. The bacteria have developed sophisticated communication channels, which they utilize when growth conditions are tough. Here we present a non-local communicating walkers model to study the effect of local bacterium-bacterium interaction and communication via chemotaxis signaling. We demonstrate how communication enables the colony to develop complex patterns in response to adverse growth conditions. This self-organization of the colony, which can be achieved only via cooperative behavior of the bacteria, may be viewed as the outcome of an interplay between the micro-level (the individual bacterium) and the macro-level (the colony). Some qualitative features of the complex morphologies can be accounted for by invoking ideas from pattern formation in non-living systems together with a simplified model of chemotactic 'feedback'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-415
Number of pages11
JournalMaterials Research Society Symposium - Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - jan. 1 1995
EventProceedings of the 1994 MRS Fall Meeting - Boston, MA, USA
Duration: nov. 28 1994nov. 30 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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