A unique self-organization of bacterial sub-communities creates iridescence in Cellulophaga lytica colony biofilms

Abstract : Iridescent color appearances are widespread in nature. They arise from the interaction of light with micron- and submicron-sized physical structures spatially arranged with periodic geometry and are usually associated with bright angle-dependent hues. Iridescence has been reported for many animals and marine organisms. However, iridescence has not been well studied in bacteria. Recently, we reported a brilliant “pointillistic” iridescence in colony biofilms of marine Flavobacteria that exhibit gliding motility. The mechanism of their iridescence is unknown. Here, using a multi-disciplinary approach, we show that the cause of iridescence is a unique periodicity of the cell population in the colony biofilm. Cells are arranged together to form hexagonal photonic crystals. Our model highlights a novel pattern of self-organization in a bacterial biofilm. ”Pointillistic” bacterial iridescence can be considered a new light-dependent phenomenon for the field of microbiology
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - 8:52:22 AM
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Betty Kientz, Stephen Luke, Peter Vukusic, Renaud Peteri, Cyrille Beaudry, et al.. A unique self-organization of bacterial sub-communities creates iridescence in Cellulophaga lytica colony biofilms . Scientific Reports of the Port-Cros National Park, Parc National de Port-Cros, 2016, ⟨10.1038/srep19906⟩. ⟨hal-01458822⟩

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