Intra-colony channel morphology in Escherichia coli biofilms is governed by nutrient availability and substrate stiffness

Research output: Working paperWorking Paper/Preprint

Abstract

Nutrient-transporting channels are found throughout mature Escherichia coli biofilms, however the influence of environmental conditions on intra-colony channel formation is poorly understood. We report the effect of different substrate nutrient concentrations and agar stiffness on the structure and distribution of intra-colony channels in mature E. coli colony biofilms using fluorescence mesoscopy and quantitative image analysis. Intra-colony channel width was observed to increase non-linearly with radial distance from the centre of the biofilm and channels were, on average, 50% wider at the centre of carbon-limited biofilms compared to nitrogen-limited biofilms. Channel density also differed in colonies grown on rich and minimal medium substrates, with the former creating a network of tightly packed channels and the latter leading to well-separated, wider channels with easily identifiable edges. We conclude that intra-colony channel morphology in E. coli biofilms is influenced by both substrate composition and nutrient availability.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCold Spring Harbor, New York
Number of pages14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • biofilms
  • Mesolens
  • intra-colony channel morphology
  • escherichia coli
  • nutrient availability
  • substrate stiffness

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