Navigation Links
High-angle helix helps bacteria swim
Date:8/13/2013

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] A high-angle helix helps microorganisms like sperm and bacteria swim through mucus and other viscoelastic fluids, according to a new study by researchers from Brown University and the University of Wisconsin. The findings help clear up some seemingly conflicting findings about how microorganisms swim using flagella, helical appendages that provide propulsion as they rotate.

Simple as single-celled creatures may be, understanding how they get around requires some complex science. The physics of helical swimming turns out to be "a really interesting fluid dynamics problem," said Thomas Powers, a professor of engineering and physics at Brown and one of the new study's authors.

At the scale of a single cell, fluids become much more viscous than on larger scales. A bacterium swimming through water "would be like us trying to swim in tar," Powers said. That means swimming at the micron scale is a completely different enterprise than it is for fish or people. Counterintuitive as it may sound, tiny helical swimmers rely exclusively on drag to move forward. The turning flagellum creates an apparent wave that propagates out from behind the creature. The drag force against that wave pushes the creature in the opposite direction.

In recent years, there has been some theoretical work aimed at fully understanding the physics of this kind of swimming, much of it done by modeling how helical swimmers behave in water. But bacteria and sperm spend a lot of time in fluids like mucus and cervical fluid fluids that are not only more viscous than water, but also elastic since they are full of springy polymers. Because a rotating helix might be able to push against the polymers, it could be that a viscoelastic fluid makes swimming easier.

"It's a fairly simple question," Powers said. "Does viscoelasticity make microorganisms swim faster or slower?" Finding the right answer, however, hasn't been so simple.


'/>"/>
Contact: Kevin Stacey
kevin_stacey@brown.edu
401-863-3766
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Quadruple helix DNA discovered in human cells
2. Doubling the information from the double helix
3. First description of a triple DNA helix in a vacuum
4. Researchers discover protein that helps plants tolerate drought, flooding, other stresses
5. $20,000 APS Foundation grant helps fund TGen2School education initiative
6. UT Southwestern researchers identify novel mechanism that helps stomach bug cause illness
7. Managing waters shared across national boundaries: Treasury of papers helps capture 20 years of lessons
8. Biochemical mapping helps explain who will respond to antidepressants
9. NIH fellowship helps researcher fight malaria, understand mosquito immunity
10. Study helps managers identify regions with multiple threat potential, including wildfires
11. Nanotechnology helps track and improve drug action in pancreatic cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/29/2015)... , June 24, 2015 ... addition of the "Latin America Biomedical Sensors Market ... their offering. The Latin America Biomedical Sensors ... a CAGR of 2.04% over the period 2014-2020 ... are adaptable to the genetic formulation of each individual. ...
(Date:6/25/2015)... , June 25, 2015  TAKE Solutions Ltd., ... patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office ... This process leverages TAKE Solutions, Clinical Accelerators to reduce ... 50% (when compared to standardization without the accelerators), thus ... At the heart of the ...
(Date:6/24/2015)... , June 22, 2015 ... the addition of the "Huawei Ascend Mate ... report to their offering. Huawei,s technological ... the opposite direction than Apple,s and Samsung,s one. ... sensor developed by Fingerprint Cards, a main actor ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Latin America Biomedical Sensors Market Report 2015-2020 2TAKE Solutions Awarded Patent By USPTO 2Huawei Ascend Mate 7 Fingerprint Sensor - Reverse Costing Analysis 2
... , July 10, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- We,ve heard they ... simply having a proper yoga facial exercises regimen, the ... and invigorated. Face gymnastics exercises using the fingertips are ... facelifts. But do they really work? (Photo: ...
... the University of Rostock in Germany has developed a new ... lower cost using less energy than before. It,s expected that ... in a diverse range of applications; including transport and medical ... of the open access journal Materials Today , reports ...
... made up of stacked disks linked together by unstacked ... has now identified a protein that tucks the membrane ... electron microscopy (SEM) micrograph of a chloroplast in maize ... starch granules (grey). (Prepared by freeze fracturing; micrograph is ...
Cached Biology News:Getting Rid of Facial Wrinkles and Toning Up in 2013 2Getting Rid of Facial Wrinkles and Toning Up in 2013 3Cool it, quick: Rapid cooling leads to stronger alloys 2Photosynthesis: Membranes in tight corners 2
(Date:7/27/2015)... THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. , July 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... will report its second quarter financial results on Thursday, ... financial markets. The announcement will be followed by a ... PT. Participating in the call from Amgen will be ... officer, and other members of Amgen,s senior management team. ...
(Date:7/27/2015)... TX (PRWEB) , ... July 27, 2015 , ... ... current state of the Biophotonics industry.The report provides a basic overview of the ... is provided for the international markets including development trends, competitive landscape analysis, and ...
(Date:7/27/2015)... , July 27, 2015   Inocucor Technologies ... sustainable biological accelerators for farmers, has received a ... Trademark Office for its patent application to protect ... plant growth and enhance yields on farms and ... to Inocucor,s live IN-M1 microbial consortium and its ...
(Date:7/27/2015)... Texas , July 27, 2015 ... Market by Type (Home-brew Media, Pre-formulated Media), by Application (Biobanking, ... , Europe , Asia-Pacific ... to 2019", The global biopreservation media market was valued at ... around $571.5 million by 2019, at a CAGR of 18.2% ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Amgen Announces Webcast of 2015 Second Quarter Financial Results 22015 Biophotonics Market Global Research 22015 Biophotonics Market Global Research 3Inocucor Technologies Receives Groundbreaking U.S. Patent for Proprietary Biological Processes that Stimulate Plant Growth 2Inocucor Technologies Receives Groundbreaking U.S. Patent for Proprietary Biological Processes that Stimulate Plant Growth 3Global Biopreservation Media Market to be Worth $571.5 Million by 2019 2Global Biopreservation Media Market to be Worth $571.5 Million by 2019 3
... International, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: YGYB; "Yongye" or the ... for plants and animals, located in the People,s Republic ... host a conference call and webcast in which it ... followed by a question and answer session in English ...
... On February 10, 2009, NeoStem, Inc. (NYSE Alternext ... Alternext US (the "Alternext") indicating that the Company is ... Company Guide (the "Guide"), which requires a listed company ... 3, 2008, the Company had announced that it planned ...
... Integrates Their Clinical Data System (CDS) and East(R) ... Mass., Feb. 13 Cytel Inc. today announced ... Cytel,s East (R) software, the most widely-used ... AstraZeneca,s increased use of East(R) also features ...
Cached Biology Technology:Yongye Biotechnology to Host 'Virtual Retail Road Show' to Provide Overview of the Company in English and Mandarin 2Yongye Biotechnology to Host 'Virtual Retail Road Show' to Provide Overview of the Company in English and Mandarin 3Yongye Biotechnology to Host 'Virtual Retail Road Show' to Provide Overview of the Company in English and Mandarin 4NeoStem Receives Notice of Noncompliance from NYSE Alternext US 2AstraZeneca Implements Customized Cytel East(R) Software for More Accurate Trial Monitoring and Clinical Data Analysis 2