Bacillus subtilis biofilms are well known for their complex and highly adaptive morphology. Indeed, their phenotypical diversity and intra-biofilm heterogeneity make this gram-positive bacterium the subject of many scientific papers on the structure of biofilms. The “robustness” of biofilms is a term often used to describe their level of susceptibility to antimicrobial agents and various mechanical and molecular inhibition/eradication methods. In this paper, we use computational analytics to quantify Bacillus subtilis morphological response to proximity to an antimicrobial source, in the form of the antiseptic chlorhexidine. Chlorhexidine droplets, placed in proximity to Bacillus subtilis macrocolonies at different distances result in morphological changes, quantified using Python-based code, which we have made publicly available. Our results quantify peripheral and inner core deformation as well as differences in cellular viability of the two regions. The results reveal that the inner core, which is often characterized by the presence of wrinkled formations in the macrocolony, is more preserved than the periphery. Furthermore, the paper describes a crescent-shaped colony morphology which occurs when the distance from the chlorhexidine source is 0.5 cm, as well as changes observed in the growth substrate of macrocolonies exposed to chlorhexidine.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was partially supported by the STEP Graduate Training Program (STEP-GTP), the Dr. Izador I. Cabakoff Research Endowment Fund and the Azrieli College of Engineering Research Fund.
© 2022, The Author(s).