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Type: Journal article
Title: Diffusion-limited growth of microbial colonies
Author: Tronnolone, H.
Tam, A.
Szenczi, Z.
Green, J.
Balasuriya, S.
Tek, E.
Gardner, J.
Sundstrom, J.
Jiranek, V.
Oliver, S.
Binder, B.
Citation: Scientific Reports, 2018; 8(1):5992-1-5992-11
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 2045-2322
Statement of
Hayden Tronnolone, Alexander Tam, Zoltán Szenczi, J. E. F. Green, Sanjeeva Balasuriya, Ee Lin Tek, Jennifer M. Gardner, Joanna F. Sundstrom, Vladimir Jiranek, Stephen G. Oliver, Benjamin J. Binder
Abstract: The emergence of diffusion-limited growth (DLG) within a microbial colony on a solid substrate is studied using a combination of mathematical modelling and experiments. Using an agent-based model of the interaction between microbial cells and a diffusing nutrient, it is shown that growth directed towards a nutrient source may be used as an indicator that DLG is influencing the colony morphology. A continuous reaction-diffusion model for microbial growth is employed to identify the parameter regime in which DLG is expected to arise. Comparisons between the model and experimental data are used to argue that the bacterium Bacillus subtilis can undergo DLG, while the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae cannot, and thus the non-uniform growth exhibited by this yeast must be caused by the pseudohyphal growth mode rather than limited nutrient availability. Experiments testing directly for DLG features in yeast colonies are used to confirm this hypothesis.
Keywords: Bacillus subtilis
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Models, Biological
Computer Simulation
Rights: © The Author(s) 2018. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-23649-z
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