Network patterns in exponentially growing 2D biofilms

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Anisotropic collective patterns occur frequently in the morphogenesis of 2D biofilms. These patterns are often attributed to growth regulation mechanisms and differentiation based on gradients of diffusing nutrients and signalling molecules. Here, we employ a model of bacterial growth dynamics to show that even in the absence of growth regulation or differentiation, confinement by an enclosing medium such as agar can itself lead to stable pattern formation over time scales that are employed in experiments. The underlying mechanism relies on path formation through physical deformation of the enclosing environment.
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