Rocket Yeast

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Usually, microbial colonies are grown on a solid substrate, but what happens when they grow on a liquid surface? That’s the question explored in this Gallery of Fluid Motion video featuring colonies of brewer’s yeast on various liquid substrates. When the viscosity of the liquid is low enough, the colony actually gets pulled apart (Image 2). This behavior is driven by a convective flow in the liquid caused by the colony’s own growth. As the yeast grow, they deplete nearby sugar, creating a density gradient that triggers convection beneath the colony. (Image, video, and research credit: S. Atis et al.)

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