Book: E. coli in motion, by Howard C. Berg

Amazing book. I took it with the idea to read a chapter from time to time. When I do this, I rarely go beyond the first pages. This time, I could not stop reading until I finished the whole book (literally: I read it in one sitting).

Two fragments I loved:

The habitat and life cycle of E. coli in two (beautiful) sentences:

E. coli lives a life of luxury in the lower intestines of warm-blooded animals, including humans. Once expelled, it lives a life of penury and hazard in water, sediment and soil.

About diffusion (perhaps shame on me, but this made me understand something I never understood before):

The major take-home lesson is this: diffusive transport over small distances is very efficient, while diffusive transport over large distances is very inefficient. Diffusion times increase as the square of the distance. Thus, a small molecule in water can diffuse the width of E. coli (1 μm) in a few milliseconds. To diffuse the width of your finger (1.5 cm), it takes about a day.

 

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