Day: December 21, 2020

Social bacteria build shelters using the physics of fingerprints

Forest-dwelling bacteria known for forming slimy swarms that prey on other microbes can also cooperate to construct mushroom-like survival shelters known as fruiting bodies when food is scarce.

Now, a team at Princeton University has discovered the physics behind how these rod-shaped bacteria, which align in patterns like those on fingerprint whorls and liquid crystal displays, build the layers of these fruiting bodies. Results of the U.S. National Science Foundation-funded study were published in Nature Physics.

When food is scarce, forest-dwelling bacteria come together to build structures called fruiting bodies. Image credit: Cassidy Yang/Princeton University

“In some ways,

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