Capillary bacterial migration on non-nutritive solid surfaces

Tomislav Ivanković, Uzi Hadad, Ariel Kushmaro, Svjetlana Dekić, Josipa Äevid, Marko Percela, Jasna Hrenović

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Here we describe an additional type of bacterial migration in which bacterial cells migrate vertically across a non-nutritive solid surface carried by capillary forces. Unlike standard motility experiments, these were run on a glass slide inserted into a Falcon tube, partly immersed in a nutrient medium and partly exposed to air. Observations revealed that capillary forces initiated upward cell migration when biofilm was formed at the border between liquid and air. The movement was facilitated by the production of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). This motility differs from earlier described swarming, twitching, gliding, sliding, or surfing, although these types of movements are not excluded. We therefore propose to call it "capillary movement of biofilm". This phenomenon may be an ecologically important mode of bacterial motility on solid surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-260
Number of pages10
JournalArhiv za Higijenu Rada i Toksikologiju
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • Acinetobacter
  • Bacillus
  • Pseudomonas
  • Staphylococcus
  • air/liquid interface
  • biofilm
  • microscopy
  • surface motility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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