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Appl Environ Microbiol. Apr 1992; 58(4): 1227–1232.
PMCID: PMC195579

Self-similar colony morphogenesis by gram-negative rods as the experimental model of fractal growth by a cell population.


The ability to form a fractal colony was shown to be common among several species of the family Enterobacteriaceae. Bacterial spreading growth in a two-dimensional field of nutrient concentration was indicated to be important for this experimental self-similar morphogenesis. As a basic analogy, the diffusion-limited aggregation model was suggested. Fractal dimensions of colonies were mostly in the range of values from 1.7 to 1.8, similar to those of the two-dimensional diffusion-limited aggregation model. Bacterial characteristics and culture conditions inducing changes in fractal patterns and growth rates were identified. The contribution of the bacterial multicellular nature to fractal morphogenesis is discussed.

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