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Clinging to crevices, E. coli thrive

Harvard research reveals the role of the flagellum in helping biofilms colonize rough surfaces. New research from Harvard University helps to explain how waterborne bacteria can colonize rough surfaces—even those that have been designed to resist water.

A team of materials scientists and microbiologists studied the gut bacterium Escherichia coli, which has many flagella that stick out in all directions. The researchers found that these tails can act as biological grappling hooks, reaching far into nanoscale crevices and latching the bacteria in place.

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