Many bacteria can swim and move up chemical gradients (chemotaxis). This ability is important in all environments, from soil, through animal hosts (including us!), to the ocean. It may also be critical to bioremediation (soil-clean up using bacteria). We work on the biophysics of swimming and chemotaxis in porous media, inspired by understanding bioremediation and microbial symbioses in soil. Our work combines analytical approaches (statistical mechanics of chemotaxis), with simulation and experiment. Our experiments combine computer controlled (Raspberry Pi, Arduino) macroscopic imaging of bacterial migration dynamics with microscopic characterisation of motility statistics, including Differential Dynamic Microscopy.
O. A. Croze, G. P. Ferguson, M. E. Cates & W. C. K. Poon, Migration of chemotactic bacteria in soft agar: role of gel concentration. Biophys. J. 101 525-534 (2011) DOI:10.1016/j.bpj.2011.06.023
V. Martinez, R. Besseling, O. A. Croze, … , M. A. Bees, L. G. Wilson & W. C. K. Poon, Biophys. J. 103 525-534 (2012) DOI:10.1016/j.bpj.2012.08.045
C. P. Bradshaw, Bacteria in porous media: Test bed for new statistical physics. Physics Part III project (2014)