DROPPS at 2015 GoMRI Conference

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Recent Publications

Succeed Escape: Flow shear promotes tumbling of Escherichia colinear a solid surface

Molaei M, Sheng J. Succeed Escape: Flow shear promotes tumbling of Escherichia colinear a solid surface. Scientific Reports [Internet]. 2016;6. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Understanding how bacteria move close to a surface under various stimuli is crucial for a broad range of microbial processes including biofilm formation, bacterial transport and migration. While prior studies focus on interactions between single stimulus and bacterial suspension, we emphasize on compounding effects of flow shear and solid surfaces on bacterial motility, especially reorientation and tumble. We have applied microfluidics and digital holographic microscopy to capture a large number (>105) of 3D Escherichia colitrajectories near a surface under various flow shear. We find that near-surface flow shear promotes cell reorientation and mitigates the tumble suppression and re-orientation confinement found in a quiescent flow, and consequently enhances surface normal bacterial dispersion. Conditional sampling suggests that two complimentary hydrodynamic mechanisms, Jeffrey Orbit and shear-induced flagella unbundling, are responsible for the enhancement in bacterial tumble motility. These findings imply that flow shear may mitigate cell trapping and prevent biofilm initiation.

Dynamics of Heterocapsa sp. and the associated attached and free-living bacteria under the influence of dispersed and undispersed crude oil

Severin T, Bacosa HP, Sato A, Erdner DL. Dynamics of Heterocapsa sp. and the associated attached and free-living bacteria under the influence of dispersed and undispersed crude oil. Letters in Applied Microbiology [Internet]. 2016;63(6):419-425. Publisher's VersionAbstract
While many studies have examined the impact of oil on phytoplankton or bacteria, very few considered the effects on the biological complex formed by phytoplankton and their associated phytoplankton-attached (PA) and free-living (FL) bacteria. However, associated bacteria can affect the physiology of phytoplankton and influence their stress responses. In this study, we monitored the growth of Heterocapsa sp., an armoured dinoflagellate, exposed to crude oil, Corexit dispersant, or both. Growth of Heterocapsa sp. is unaffected by crude oil up to 25 ppm, a concentration similar to the lower range measured on Florida beaches after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The PA bacteria community was resistant to exposure, whereas the FL community shifted towards oil degraders; both responses could contribute to Heterocapsa sp. oil resistance. The growth rate of Heterocapsa sp. decreased significantly only when exposed to dispersed oil at 25 ppm, indicating a synergistic effect of dispersant on oil toxicity in this organism. For the first time, we demonstrated the decoupling of the responses of the PA and FL bacteria communities after exposure to an environmental stress, in this case oil and dispersant. Our findings suggest new directions to explore in the understanding of interactions between unicellular eukaryotes and prokaryotes. Significance and Impact of the Study In the environment, oil spills have the capacity to modify phytoplankton communities, with important consequences on the food web and the carbon cycle. We are just beginning to understand the oil resistance of phytoplankton species, making it difficult to predict community response. In this study we highlighted the strong resistance of Heterocapsa sp. to oil, which could be associated with its resilient attached bacteria and oil degradation by the free-living bacteria. This finding suggests new directions to explore in the understanding of oil impacts and interactions between eukaryotic and prokaryotic microbes.

History effects on the gas exchange between a bubble and a liquid

Chu S, Prosperetti A. History effects on the gas exchange between a bubble and a liquid. Physical Review Fluids [Internet]. 2016;1(6). Publisher's VersionAbstract
Diffusive processes exhibit a strong dependence on history effects. For a gas bubble at rest in a liquid, such effects arise when the concentration of dissolved gas at the bubble surface, dictated by Henry's law, depends on time. In this paper we consider several such situations. An oscillating ambient pressure field causes the occurrence of rectified diffusion of gas into or out of the bubble. Unlike previous investigators, who considered the opposite limit, we study this process for conditions when the diffusion length is larger than the bubble radius. It is found that history effects are important in determining the threshold conditions. Under a static ambient pressure, the time dependence of the gas concentration can arise due to the action of surface tension, which increases the gas pressure as the bubble dissolves or, when the bubble contains a mixture of two or more gases, due to the different rates at which they dissolve. In these latter cases history effects prove mostly negligible for bubbles larger than a few hundred nanometers.
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