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A unique self-organization of bacterial sub-communities creates iridescence in Cellulophaga lytica colony biofilms
Kientz, B.; Luke, S.; Vukusic, P.; Péteri, R.; Beaudry, C.; Renault, T.; Simon, D.; Mignot, T.; Rosenfeld, E. (2016). A unique self-organization of bacterial sub-communities creates iridescence in Cellulophaga lytica colony biofilms. NPG Scientific Reports 6(19906): 11 pp. hdl.handle.net/10.1038/srep19906
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keywords
    Flavobacteria [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Kientz, B.
  • Luke, S.
  • Vukusic, P.
  • Péteri, R.
  • Beaudry, C.
  • Renault, T.
  • Simon, D.
  • Mignot, T.
  • Rosenfeld, E.

Abstract
    Iridescent color appearances are widespread in nature. They arise from the interaction of light with micron- and submicron-sized physical structures spatially arranged with periodic geometry and are usually associated with bright angle-dependent hues. Iridescence has been reported for many animals and marine organisms. However, iridescence has not been well studied in bacteria. Recently, we reported a brilliant “pointillistic” iridescence in colony biofilms of marine Flavobacteria that exhibit gliding motility. The mechanism of their iridescence is unknown. Here, using a multi-disciplinary approach, we show that the cause of iridescence is a unique periodicity of the cell population in the colony biofilm. Cells are arranged together to form hexagonal photonic crystals. Our model highlights a novel pattern of self-organization in a bacterial biofilm. ”Pointillistic” bacterial iridescence can be considered a new light-dependent phenomenon for the field of microbiology.

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