Authors Merlitz, H. ; Vuijk, H. ; Wittmann, R. ; Sharma, A. ; Sommer, J.-U.
Title Pseudo-chemotaxis of active Brownian particles competing for food
Date 08.04.2020
Number 57123
Abstract Active Brownian particles (ABPs) are physical models for motility in simple life forms and easily studied in simulations. An open question is to what extent an increase of activity by a gradient of fuel, or food in living systems, results in an evolutionary advantage of actively moving systems such as ABPs over non-motile systems, which rely on thermal diffusion only. It is an established fact that within confined systems in a stationary state, the activity of ABPs generates density profiles that are enhanced in regions of low activity, which is thus referred to as ‘anti-chemotaxis’. This would suggest that a rather complex sensoric subsystem and information processing is a precondition to recognize and navigate towards a food source. We demonstrate in this work that in non-stationary setups, for instance as a result of short bursts of fuel/food, ABPs do in fact exhibit chemotactic behavior. In direct competition with inactive, but otherwise identical Brownian particles (BPs), the ABPs are shown to fetch a larger amount of food. We discuss this result based on simple physical arguments. From the biological perspective, the ability of primitive entities to move in direct response to the available amount of external energy would, even in absence of any sensoric devices, encompass an evolutionary advantage.
Journal PLoS One [Elektronische Ressource]
Citation PLoS One [Elektronische Ressource] 15 (2020) e0230873

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