TitlePattern swimming of Phytophthora citricola zoospores: an example of microbial bioconvection.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsOchiai, N, Dragila, M, Parke, JL
JournalFungal Biol
Date Published2011 Mar
KeywordsBiophysical Phenomena, Gravitation, Movement, Phytophthora, Spores

The genus Phytophthora, belonging to the class Oomycota, comprises a group of over fifty fungus-like plant pathogens in both managed and unmanaged ecosystems. A unique feature of the oomycete lifecycle is a zoosporic stage in which motile, unicellular propagules, serving as the primary agents of dispersal, are produced and released in the presence of water. In Petri dish suspensions, zoospores frequently exhibit 'pattern swimming', whereby they spontaneously form concentrated swimming masses, visible to the naked eye, even in the absence of a chemical or electrical gradient. The nature of this behaviour is unclear, but is of interest because of the potential for auto-attraction and implications for cohort recruitment during infection. Similar behaviour observed in a variety of motile bacteria, algae, and protists is attributed to 'bioconvection' that results from instability in fluid density due to the organisms' upward-swimming tendency and greater-than-water density. In this investigation, we determined that Phytophthora citricola zoospore 'pattern swimming' is unrelated to phototaxis, surface tension-driven (Marangoni) convection, or auto-attraction and that the observed convective pattern, directional swimming, and depth- and concentration dependence are consistent with bioconvection.

Alternate JournalFungal Biol
PubMed ID21354529