Antibiotic-induced anomalous statistics of collective bacterial swarming

Sivan Benisty, Eshel Ben-Jacob, Gil Ariel, Avraham Be'er

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Under sublethal antibiotics concentrations, the statistics of collectively swarming Bacillus subtilis transitions from normal to anomalous, with a heavy-tailed speed distribution and a two-step temporal correlation of velocities. The transition is due to changes in the properties of the bacterial motion and the formation of a motility-defective subpopulation that self-segregates into regions. As a result, both the colonial expansion and the growth rate are not affected by antibiotics. This phenomenon suggests a new strategy bacteria employ to fight antibiotic stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number018105
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 6 Jun 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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