Experiments and mathematical modeling show that complex flows driven by unexpected flagellar arrangements are induced when peritrichously flagellated bacteria are confined in a thin layer of fluid, between asymmetric boundaries. The flagella apparently form a dynamic bipolar assembly rather than the single bundle characteristic of free swimming bacteria, and the resulting flow is observed to circulate around the cell body. It ranges over several cell diameters, in contrast to the small extent of the flows surrounding free swimmers. Results also suggest that flagellar bundles on bacteria that lie flat on a solid substrate have an effective rotation rate slower than "free" flagella. This discovery extends our knowledge of the dynamic geometry of bacteria and their flagella, and reveals new mechanisms for motility-associated molecular transport and intercellular communication.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)