University of Cambridge > > Fluid Mechanics (DAMTP) > Motile bacteria in giant unilamellar vesicles: A cautionary tale

Motile bacteria in giant unilamellar vesicles: A cautionary tale

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Prof. Jerome Neufeld.

I will report results from a study of motile Escherichia coli bacteria encapsulated inside giant lipid vesicles. Forces exerted by the bacteria on the inner side of the membrane are sufficient to extrude membrane tubes filled with one or several bacteria. Interestingly, a physical coupling between the membrane tube and the flagella of the enclosed cells transforms the tube into an effective helical flagellum propelling the vesicle. A simple theoretical model can estimate the propulsive force from the speed of the vesicles and demonstrate the efficacy of this coupling mechanism. Importantly, such propulsion of the whole vesicle is not seen in recent studies of encapsulated Janus swimmers and of Bacillus subtills bacteria. I therefore sound a cautionary note against facile generalisations in active matter systems, where it seems that details matter.

This talk is part of the Fluid Mechanics (DAMTP) series.

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