The impact of bacterial diet on the migration and navigation of Caenorhabditis elegans

S. Rodger, B. S. Griffiths, J. W. McNicol, R. W. Wheatley, I. M. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Can diet have a significant impact on the ability of organisms to sense and locate food? Focusing on the bacterial feeder Caenorhabditis elegans, we investigated what effect preconditioning on a range of bacterial substrates had on the subsequent chemotaxis process involved in the nematode locating other bacterial populations. Remarkably, we found that C. elegans, initially fed on a diet of Escherichia coli OP50, was significantly impaired in finding E. coli OP50 populations, compared to other available bacterial populations (P < 0.001). We found similar results for another bacterial feeding nematode species, suggesting that a general "substrate legacy" may operate across a wide range of organisms. We discuss this important finding with respect to the variation in response exhibited within a given nematode population, and the impact nematode migration has on bacterial dispersal in the environment.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-365
Number of pages8
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Soil Science


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