Pattern formation of bacterial colonies by escherichia coli

Rie Tokita, Takaki Katoh, Yusuke Maeda, Jun Ichi Wakita, Masaki Sano, Tohey Matsuyama, Mitsugu Matsushita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


We have studied the morphological diversity and change in bacterial colonies, using the bacterial species Escherichia coli, as a function of both agar concentration Caand nutrient concentration Cn. We observed various colony patterns, classified them into four types by pattern characteristics and established a morphological diagram by dividing it into four regions. They are regions A [diffusion-limited aggregation (DLA)-like], B (Eden-like), C (concentric-ring), and D (fluid-spreading). In particular, we have observed a concentric-ring colony growth for E. coli. We focused on the periodic growth in region C and obtained the following results: (i) A colony grows cyclically with the growing front repeating an advance (migration phase) and a momentary rest (consolidation phase) alternately. (ii) The growth width L and the bulge width W in one cycle decrease asymptotically to certain values, when Cais increased. (iii) L does not depend on Cn, while W is an increasing function of Cn. Plausible mechanisms are proposed to explain the experimental results, by comparing them with those obtained for other bacterial species such as Proteus mirabilis and Bacillus subtilis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number074005
Journaljournal of the physical society of japan
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Pattern formation of bacterial colonies by escherichia coli'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this