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3.2: Bacterial Growth

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    The place to start a discussion of basic population models is in discrete-time at the macroscale—the most basic. Consider a hypothetical strain of bacteria reproducing every hour. Suppose a colony is started with a single bacterium when the clock reads zero, symbolized t = 0, and one hour later that bacterium divides into two, by time t = 1. Each of those divides in two one hour after that, by time t = 2. And so forth. Suppose you start this culture on a lab bench on Monday, let it go unchecked, and then come back late on Friday to see the results.

    If the colony grows unchecked in this way, how many bacteria will there be at the end of the work week, after five full days of growth? You could figure that out on a calculator, or more easily you could use computer code. More easily, that is, once you know computer coding.

    Because computer coding is becoming embedded in almost every aspect of life, appreciating the basics of coding is meaningful for each educated citizen of this century, and this book will expose you to the basics.

    This page titled 3.2: Bacterial Growth is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Clarence Lehman, Shelby Loberg, & Adam Clark (University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.