Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.jtbi.2011.07.024
Title (Primary) Modeling population patterns of chemotactic bacteria in homogenous porous media
Author Centler, F.; Fetzer, I.; Thullner, M.
Journal Journal of Theoretical Biology
Year 2011
Department UMB
Volume 287
Page From 82
Page To 91
Language englisch
Keywords Pattern formation; Ecosystem services; Biodegradation; Chemotaxis; Individual-based modeling

The spatio-temporal distribution of subsurface microorganisms determines their efficiency in providing essential ecosystem services such as the degradation of organic matter, the remineralization of carbon and nitrogen, or the remediation of anthropogenic contaminants. Populations of motile, chemotactic bacteria have been shown to be capable of pattern formation even in the absence of environmental heterogeneities. Focusing on the water saturated domain of the subsurface (e.g., aquatic sediments, porous aquifers), we analyze this innate capability of bacterial populations in an idealized model of a homogeneous, saturated porous medium. Considering a linear array of connected, identical microhabitats populated by motile, chemotactic bacterial cells, we identify prerequisites for pattern formation, analyze types of patterns, and assess their impact on substrate utilization. In our model, substrate supplied to the microhabitats facilitates bacterial growth, and microbial cells can migrate between neighboring microhabitats due to (i) random motility, (ii) chemotaxis towards substrate, and (iii) self-attraction. A precondition for inhomogeneous population patterns is analytically derived, stating that patterns are possible if the self-attraction exceeds a threshold defined by the random motility and the steady state population density in the microhabitats. An individual-based implementation of the model shows that static and dynamic population patterns can unfold. Degradation efficiency is highest for homogeneous bacterial distributions and decreases as pattern formation commences. If during biostimulation efforts the carrying capacity of the microhabitats is successively increased, simulation results show that degradation efficiency can unexpectedly decrease when the pattern formation threshold is crossed.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Centler, F., Fetzer, I., Thullner, M. (2011):
Modeling population patterns of chemotactic bacteria in homogenous porous media
J. Theor. Biol. 287 , 82 - 91