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News Release 05-109

Bacteria Take the Path of Least Resistance

Findings may lead to new nano-devices and understanding of infection

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<i>Escherichia coli</i> cells

Escherichia coli cells use long, thin structures called flagella to propel themselves. These flagella form bundles that rotate counter-clockwise, creating a torque that causes the bacterium to rotate clockwise.

Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation

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<em>Escherichia coli</em>

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Real-time video shows Escherichia coli cells swimming in a 10-micron wide, 1.5-micron high solid microchannel with agar floors. Most of the cells are swimming on the right-hand side of the channel as a result of torque produced from the motion of the flagella that propel them.

Credit: Willow DiLuzio, Harvard University