The Growth, Form, and Function of Micro-organisms
Michael Tabor (Program in Applied Mathematics, University of Arizona, USA)

Jeudi 06 avril 2006

The use of exact, nonlinear, elasticity theory to describe large deformations of elastic shells and membranes is applied to the study of the growth and form of various micro-organisms.

We consider two problems : (i) the growth of the filamentary hyphae of actinomycetes ; and (ii) the structure and function of the rice blast fungus (Magnaporthe grisea). The second problem also calls on the ideas of adhesion theory to estimate the strength of the adhesive used by the fungus to stick to the host surface ; and plasticity and fracture theory to (perhaps) understand its ability to drive a penetration peg deep into its host - a mechanism that is responsible for the lost of 10 - 30% of the world’s rice crop each year.