Bacteria can colonize a surface by assembling into complex habitats called biofilms, a process that often starts with the adhesion of just a few cells from the fluid. The role of variations in adhesion properties between different cells is poorly understood. Here, we study the dynamics and adhesion of clonal populations of Escherichia coli (E. coli) on treated glass surfaces. High-throughput procedures and algorithms are used to track individual bacteria and distinguish between cells that are either freely swimming or diffusing, or adhering on the surface. We show several new approaches to quantitatively characterise bacterial adhesion, and reveal differences between individual cells both in their propensity to adhere, and in their post-adhesion dynamics. We explain how this post-adhesion dynamics is related to bacteria-surface interactions and compare results for several genetically modified E. coli strains and bacteria-shaped colloids synthesized in-house.
This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..