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I'm looking for an example of bacteria that could receive ultrasound (at any ultrasound frequency) signal and possibly perform some (re)action afterwards.

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... well it can break open the cells and kills them ... – shigeta Sep 7 '13 at 17:28
I know but maybe there is some ultrasound frequency that doesn't kill bacteria. – ΔλЛ Sep 7 '13 at 17:47
I'm having a hard time thinking of any natural phenomena that produce ultrasound in which the bacteria could then transduce. If the frequency is not immediately lethal, I worry the heat transfer could be. – user560 Sep 7 '13 at 18:14
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I'm going to post a quick answer here, really a thought piece.

Usually to detect a sound wave you need a sounding board about the wavelength of the sound.

Bacteria are on the order of a few microns in length.

Ultrasound frequencies range from 2 to 200 MHz (and up I assume).

To have a wavelength on the order of 3 microns, a 100 MHz wave would be needed.

So only on the very high end of the range. If bacteria make sound though, they probably are on this frequency range.

I wonder if this has been looked at? Not sure it has. While in biology you never say never - if a bacterium really needs to pick up a wave it might have a clever adaptation to do so, but in the 100MHz + frequency range seems more likely.

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