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Evaporation-Induced Patterns from Droplets Containing Motile and Nonmotile Bacteria

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posted on 14.08.2007, 00:00 by Tittu Thomas Nellimoottil, Pinjala Nagaraju Rao, Siddhartha Sankar Ghosh, Arun Chattopadhyay
In this letter, we report the observations of specific pattern formation from the evaporation of aqueous droplets containing motile and nonmotile bacteria. We found that when motile bacteria were present the droplet evaporated into disclike patterned deposits of bacteria. However, when the bacteria were made nonmotile by treatment with liquid nitrogen, the droplet evaporated into ringlike deposits. We also observed that bacteria with higher motility produced more uniformly deposited disclike patterns. Furthermore, we propose a model with numerical simulations to explain the mechanism of formation of these patterns. The model is based on the advective fluid flow from the center of the droplet toward the edge due to enhanced evaporation from the edge of the pinned droplet in comparison to that from the free surface. For the case of motile bacteria, we have added another velocity parameter toward the axis of the droplet and directed against the fluid flow in order to account for the disclike pattern formation. The numerical simulations match the experimental observations well. The present work, by qualitative and quantitative understanding of the evaporation of bacteria droplets, demonstrates that the inherent bacterial motility is primarily responsible for the formation of these differential patterns.