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Extinction transition in bacterial colonies under forced convection

T. Neicu, A. Pradhan, D. A. Larochelle, A. Kudrolli

posted on 01 January 2000

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We report the spatio-temporal response of {it Bacillus subtilis} growing on a nutrient-rich layer of agar to ultra-violet (UV) radiation. Below a crossover temperature, the bacteria are confined to regions that are shielded from UV radiation. A forced convection of the population is effected by rotating a UV radiation shield relative to the petri dish. The extinction speed at which the bacterial colony lags behind the shield is found to be qualitatively similar to the front velocity of the colony growing in the absence of the hostile environment as predicted by the model of Dahmen, Nelson and Shnerb. A quantitative comparison is not possible without considering the slow dynamics and the time-dependent interaction of the population with the hostile environment.