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"Touchy" Bacteria Grow Tendrils Around Flaws

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A common soil-dwelling microbe appears to have a sense of touch, researchers report.

A new study finds that Bacillus mycoides, a bacterium known to science since 1842, responds to forces and curvature in the medium on which it’s growing.

The microbe’s ability to respond to subtle changes in its environment, as reported in PLOS ONE, could signal potential useful scientific, engineering, and medical applications for B. mycoides.

James Stratford, a research fellow at the University of Nottingham’s School of Life Sciences, says: “We happened to notice the way the growing bacteria interacted with small defects in our solid culture media and thought what if that’s more than just random variation?”

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