Bacterial cooperative organization under antibiotic stress

Eshel Ben-Jacob*, Inon Cohen, Ido Golding, David L. Gutnick, Marianna Tcherpakov, Dirk Helbing, Ilan G. Ron

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Bacteria have developed sophisticated modes of cooperative behavior to cope with unfavorable environmental conditions. Here we report the effect of antibiotic stress on the colonial development of Paenibacillus dendritiformis and P. vortex. We focus on the effect of co-trimoxazole on the colonial organization of P. dendritiformis. We find that the exposure to non-lethal concentrations of antibiotic leads to dramatic changes in the colonial growth patterns. Branching, tip-splitting patterns are affected by reduction in the colonial fractal dimension from Df = 2.0 to 1.7, appearance of pronounced weak chirality and pronounced radial orientation of the growth. We combine the experimental observations with numerical studies of both discrete and continuous generic models to reveal the causes for the modifications in the patterns. We conclude that the bacteria adjust their chemotactic signaling together with variations in the bacteria length and increase in the metabolic load.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-282
Number of pages36
JournalPhysica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2000


FundersFunder number
IMK Almene Foundation
Israeli Academy of Sciences461/98
Israeli–US Binational Science Foundation BSF00410-95
Deutsche ForschungsgemeinschaftHe 2789/1-1

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