Event Detail

Event Type: 
Department Colloquium
Monday, November 19, 2018 - 16:00 to 16:50
Kearney 212

Most microbes are known to live in communities called biofilms, and when life becomes boring, they disperse/detach from the community. Microbial cell dispersal (detachment) from mature biofilm is part of the developmental cycle of microbial biofilms, it can be externally or internally induced, leading to sloughing, erosion or seeding. Talking microbes assist in cell dispersal through a mechanism called quorum sensing, this mechanism is used to coordinate gene expression and behaviour in groups based on population densities. A mathematical model provides a good way to describe what happens in the community of talking microbes, and helps to characterize the biofilm growth, production of quorum sensing molecules, cell dispersal and re-attachment of cells. The model developed for this study is a highly nonlinear system of diffusion-reaction equations with a nonlinear diffusion effect in the diffusion coefficient of the sessile biomass, which highly degenerates as the biomass hits maximum. The results from computer simulations show that dispersal induced by quorum sensing can be an efficient mechanism for microbes to control the size of a biofilm colony, and at the same time enhance its downstream colonization potential.