Multiscale Stochastic Model of Swarming Pattern Formation of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogenic bacterium that often, but not always, forms branched tendril patterns during swarming. This physical phenomena occurs only when bacteria produce rhamnolipid, which is regulated by intercellular quorum sensing signaling. Here we report upon our experimental findings of a new behavior of the bacterium P. aeruginosa, an ability to alter its local physical environment by forming and propagating high density waves of cells and rhamnolipid. These waves propagate symmetrically as rings within swarms towards the extending tendrils. Combined experimental and simulation approach is used to predict that such radial waves form and propagate because of increased cell growth, increased rhamnolipid production, as well as cell-cell alignment.


  • Drs. Mark Alber, Zhiliang Xu, and Joshua Shrout (ACMS and Department of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, Notre Dame)
  • Huijing Du (ACMS graduate student, Notre Dame)

Latest publication:

Huijing Du, Zhiliang Xu, Joshua D. Shrout and Mark Alber [2011], Multiscale Modeling of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Swarming, Mathematical Models and Methods in Applied Sciences 21, Suppl. 939-954.