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Project C2: The formation of biofilms as a collective process - theory.
We plan to describe the biofilm formation by a set
of continuum equations. It is
known that the Keller-Segel partial differential equation for chemotacting bacteria
can be derived directly from the microscopic model of point-like particles perfor-
ming a random walk in the field of chemicals. This approach will be generalized to
take into account all the peculiarities of biofilms, such as the division of bacteria,
the enhancement of motility as a function of density of bacteria, the transport and
decay of signaling chemicals produced by bacteria, chemotaxis and chemokinesis.
There are also two temporal scales of the problem. One is given by the ratio of the
typical distance traveled by bacteria and their average velocity. The second one is
given by the time scale at which bacteria divide. We will analyze a possible interplay
of these time scales. Numerical work in this project involves simulations on the micros-
copic level and also numerical solution of the continuum model.
It is crucial that the developement of the theoretical model goes in parallel with experi-
ments of project C1. Basic assumptions of the model should be verified and quantified
in experiments. The overall results for the study of biofilm formation obtained in theory,
simulations, and experiment should be brought together.
Project leaders: Dr. V. Zaburdaev, Prof.Dr. C. Beta , Prof.Dr. H. Stark