Hamilton, M. A., Johnson, K. R., Camper, A. K., Stoodley, P., Harkin, G. J., Gillis, R. J. and Shope, P. A.
Analysis of bacterial spatial patterns at the initial stage of biofilm formation
Biometrical Journal, 37, (4), . (doi:10.1002/bimj.4710370403).
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Using sophisticated microscopy techniques, we observed the spatial pattern of bacteria colonizing a sterile 316L stainless steel coupon as bulk water containing bacteria flowed across the coupon. The experiments used stainless steel of differing roughness and surface chemistry. The ultimate goal was to identify surface features which influence bacterial adsorption. The immediate statistical goal was to distinguish patterns consistent with complete spatial randomness from patterns showing regularity or aggregation. This goal was accomplished by using modified analyses of distance functions commonly applied in field ecology. The method protected against a potential multiple comparisons problem. For the null value of the distance function, we calculated tolerance envelopes such that the tolerance level was simultaneous for all distances of concern. Computer simulation experiments showed that the nominal level was accurate. The methodology was effective for detecting and describing patterns of colonization known not to be completely spatially random.
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