E. coli chemotaxis toward pH gradient in a hydrogel
Pathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli) strains that invade the human body, usually through the consumption of contaminated foods, can have several detrimental effects on the host, but treatment of E. coli that have trespassed into the gastrointestinal microbiome is heavily underinvestigated, even though it is the second most common cause of death in children in low income countries. The behavior of common E. coli strains in the colonization of protected surfaces, such as the mucosal layer that surrounds internal organs, has been found to support chemotaxis. However, such models do not fully reflect an in vivo environment, since the flora of the intestine is exposed to several other factors that could impact the motility of E. coli. It is observed that during stomach infections, acidity of the mucus in the stomach decreases, thereby impacting the pH gradient (which acts as a repellent for bacterial migration). It is therefore desired to evaluate the chemotactic behavior of E. coli in the presence of a pH gradient as it distributes in a hydrogel.