Bacterial colony varies in form, elevation, margin, opacity, chromogenesis etc. What gives definite character to a colony and what is the source of all the diversity? Is the reason similar to that of structure of salt crystal (i.e basic elements connect in a very definite way with each other)?

UPDATE (clarification)

On this page, it is observed that colonies can take various shapes, as if they have some internal structure, so that for example, form, elevation and margin differ and can even be described as having a particular shape.

Assuming that bacteria do not have any form of social organization or specification, what factors cause their colonies to have a particular shape, and that shape is well-defined for each species?

Also, for example, this picture on this website clearly shows a bacteria colony that is like ice crystals. If bacteria colony has no inner structure, what makes the bacteria to follow such a crystal-like pattern? Why not a shapeless goo, as one would imagine?


closed as unclear what you're asking by March Ho, AliceD, MattDMo, Amory, WYSIWYG Nov 4 '15 at 5:51

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    $\begingroup$ Different bacteria types are different species of animals. And different animals can have anything different, so there's no surprise to that. For example, it is obvious that cats have different lives than ants or monkeys, and so on. $\endgroup$ – noncom Nov 2 '15 at 15:13
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    $\begingroup$ So you mean that different bacteria form some sort of a macrostructure and that macrostructure is different per bacteria type? Also, you ask how the form and structure of that colony is influenced by properties of a particular bacteria species? And ask if that formation is akin to how molecules form a crystal, likening bacteria to crystal molecules? $\endgroup$ – noncom Nov 3 '15 at 18:05
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    $\begingroup$ This should not have been closed. $\endgroup$ – canadianer Nov 5 '15 at 0:13
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    $\begingroup$ @GoodGravy is it hard to sum up the reasons for at least one of the relevant cases? Would it take more than a single paragraph to at least make an overview approach to the answer? It does not seem like if the reason for why bacteria colonies form their shapes is known, it would take more than a normal length answer to make an excursion into that. $\endgroup$ – noncom Nov 5 '15 at 12:28
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    $\begingroup$ @noncom Gauging an appropriate level of detail is tricky. I could simply say: "different environmental stresses causes different gene expression causes different proteins, and the proteins cause the cells to assemble in different ways. Each species reacts differently to their environment (and some will do the same thing in any environment)." A good question in my opinion would ask about a particular species and why it adopts a certain shape. $\endgroup$ – James Nov 12 '15 at 6:06