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Fluid-driven Interfacial instabilities and turbulence in bacterial biofilms

Fluid-driven Interfacial instabilities and turbulence in bacterial biofilms
Fluid-driven Interfacial instabilities and turbulence in bacterial biofilms
Biofilms are thin layers of bacteria embedded within a slime matrix that live on surfaces. They are ubiquitous in nature and responsible for many medical and dental infections, industrial fouling and are also evident in ancient fossils. A biofilm structure is shaped by growth, detachment and response to mechanical forces acting on them. The main contribution to biofilm versatility in response to physical forces is the matrix that provides a platform for the bacteria to grow. The interaction between biofilm structure and hydrodynamics remains a fundamental question concerning biofilm dynamics. Here we document the appearance of ripples and wrinkles in biofilms grown from three species of bacteria when subjected to rapid high-velocity fluid flows. Theoretical treatment of the process as a Kelvin-Helmholtz instability indicates that the rippling process was primarily due to physics rather than chemistry or biology. The analysis also predicted a strong dependence of the instability formation on biofilm viscosity explaining the different surface corrugations observed. Turbulence through Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities occurring at the interface demonstrated that the biofilm flows like a viscous liquid under high flow velocities applied within milliseconds. Biofilm fluid-like behavior may have important implications for our understanding of how fluid flow influences biofilm biology since turbulence will likely disrupt metabolite and signal gradients as well as community stratification.
1462-2920
4417-4431
Fabbri, Stefania
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Li, Jian
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Howlin, Robert P.
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Rmaile, Amir
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Gottenbos, Bart
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de Jager, Marko
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Starke, E.Michelle
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Aspiras, Marcelo
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Ward, Marilyn T.
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Cogan, Nick G.
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Stoodley, Paul
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Fabbri, Stefania
c93b6166-2117-48a9-9a88-b23a62c7b5da
Li, Jian
fd6f96c3-ff07-4d2d-b03a-3fb552093e58
Howlin, Robert P.
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Rmaile, Amir
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Gottenbos, Bart
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de Jager, Marko
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Starke, E.Michelle
52224939-da66-4070-afa6-01def56c4427
Aspiras, Marcelo
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Ward, Marilyn T.
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Cogan, Nick G.
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Stoodley, Paul
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Fabbri, Stefania, Li, Jian, Howlin, Robert P., Rmaile, Amir, Gottenbos, Bart, de Jager, Marko, Starke, E.Michelle, Aspiras, Marcelo, Ward, Marilyn T., Cogan, Nick G. and Stoodley, Paul (2017) Fluid-driven Interfacial instabilities and turbulence in bacterial biofilms. Environmental Microbiology, 19 (11), 4417-4431. (doi:10.1111/1462-2920.13883).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Biofilms are thin layers of bacteria embedded within a slime matrix that live on surfaces. They are ubiquitous in nature and responsible for many medical and dental infections, industrial fouling and are also evident in ancient fossils. A biofilm structure is shaped by growth, detachment and response to mechanical forces acting on them. The main contribution to biofilm versatility in response to physical forces is the matrix that provides a platform for the bacteria to grow. The interaction between biofilm structure and hydrodynamics remains a fundamental question concerning biofilm dynamics. Here we document the appearance of ripples and wrinkles in biofilms grown from three species of bacteria when subjected to rapid high-velocity fluid flows. Theoretical treatment of the process as a Kelvin-Helmholtz instability indicates that the rippling process was primarily due to physics rather than chemistry or biology. The analysis also predicted a strong dependence of the instability formation on biofilm viscosity explaining the different surface corrugations observed. Turbulence through Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities occurring at the interface demonstrated that the biofilm flows like a viscous liquid under high flow velocities applied within milliseconds. Biofilm fluid-like behavior may have important implications for our understanding of how fluid flow influences biofilm biology since turbulence will likely disrupt metabolite and signal gradients as well as community stratification.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 3 August 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 14 September 2017
Published date: 19 November 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 416468
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/416468
ISSN: 1462-2920
PURE UUID: d3b89d37-9d9f-4b44-9765-d4c43bf69d32
ORCID for Paul Stoodley: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6069-273X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 19 Dec 2017 17:31
Last modified: 28 Apr 2022 06:21

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Contributors

Author: Stefania Fabbri
Author: Jian Li
Author: Robert P. Howlin
Author: Amir Rmaile
Author: Bart Gottenbos
Author: Marko de Jager
Author: E.Michelle Starke
Author: Marcelo Aspiras
Author: Marilyn T. Ward
Author: Nick G. Cogan
Author: Paul Stoodley ORCID iD

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