Flagella bending affects macroscopic properties of bacterial suspensions

M. Potomkin, M. Tournus, L. V. Berlyand, I. S. Aranson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


To survive in harsh conditions, motile bacteria swimin complex environments and respond to the surrounding flow. Here, we develop a mathematical model describing how flagella bending affects macroscopic properties of bacterial suspensions. First, we show how the flagella bending contributes to the decrease in the effective viscosity observed in dilute suspension. Our results do not impose tumbling (random reorientation) as was previously done to explain the viscosity reduction. Second, we demonstrate how a bacterium escapes from wall entrapment due to the self-induced buckling of flagella. Our results shed light on the role of flexible bacterial flagella in interactions of bacteria with shear flow and walls or obstacles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20161031
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number130
StatePublished - May 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering

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