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Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 581829, 10 pages
Research Article

Modeling of the Bacillus subtilis Bacterial Biofilm Growing on an Agar Substrate

1School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing 100083, China
2School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Received 13 May 2015; Revised 21 July 2015; Accepted 26 July 2015

Academic Editor: Chung-Min Liao

Copyright © 2015 Xiaoling Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bacterial biofilms are organized communities composed of millions of microorganisms that accumulate on almost any kinds of surfaces. In this paper, a biofilm growth model on an agar substrate is developed based on mass conservation principles, Fick’s first law, and Monod’s kinetic reaction, by considering nutrient diffusion between biofilm and agar substrate. Our results show biofilm growth evolution characteristics such as biofilm thickness, active biomass, and nutrient concentration in the agar substrate. We quantitatively obtain biofilm growth dependence on different parameters. We provide an alternative mathematical method to describe other kinds of biofilm growth such as multiple bacterial species biofilm and also biofilm growth on various complex substrates.