Microdomains and stress distributions in bacterial monolayers on curved interfaces

Blake Langeslay, Gabriel Juarez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Monolayers of growing non-motile rod-shaped bacteria act as active nematic materials composed of hard particles rather than the flexible components of other commonly studied active nematics. The organization of these granular monolayers has been studied on flat surfaces but not on curved surfaces, which are known to change the behavior of other active nematics. We use molecular dynamics simulations to track alignment and stress in growing monolayers fixed to curved surfaces, and investigate how these vary with changing surface curvature and cell aspect ratio. We find that the length scale of alignment (measured by average microdomain size) increases with cell aspect ratio and decreases with curvature. Additionally, we find that alignment controls the distribution of extensile stresses in the monolayer by concentrating stress in negative-order regions. These results connect active nematic physics to bacterial monolayers and can be applied to model bacteria growing on droplets, such as oil-degrading marine bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3605-3613
Number of pages9
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number20
Early online dateMay 10 2023
StatePublished - May 10 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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