How bacteria organize their flagella to achieve optimal swimming is a fundamental question. Whether having more flagella facilitates the run-and-tumble motion of bacterium is still a matter of debate. Dr. Reza Shaebani, principal investigator of project A7 of the SFB 1027, and the groups of Prof. Wagner (Saarland University) and Prof. Bange (Marburg University) have recently investigated the dynamics of bacteria with different flagellar number obtained by genetic manipulation. Their findings reveal that having less flagella increases swimming processivity, thus, it is beneficial for long-distance transport. However, increasing the flagellar number enhances the switching probability to tumbling, which is advantageous for exploring local areas. Consequently, the global search efficiency in a chemically homogeneous environment is optimized at intermediate values of the flagellar number. The optimal choice varies with the environmental conditions and the characteristics of the bacterial chemotaxis system. The experiments were conducted at Saarland and Marburg Universities and Dr. Shaebani developed the theoretical model and performed numerical simulations. The study has been published in Science Advances.

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Date of new: 
Friday, 28. September 2018













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