Plate-based assay for swarming motility in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Methods Mol Biol. 2014;1149:67-72. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-0473-0_8.


Swarming motility is one of three distinct modes of motility observed in the gram-negative bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Swarming motility is defined as the movement across a semisolid surface, and in P. aeruginosa requires flagellar motility and the production of biosurfactants. Swarming motility is thought to occur on gelatinous/viscous surfaces inside a host, such as on epithelial cells. There is currently no standardized in vitro assay to visualize and study swarming motility, and the assays used can vary greatly between laboratory groups. Here, we describe a detailed, reproducible in vitro swarming motility assay for P. aeruginosa. While different protocols have previously been reported in the literature, we hope that adopting this method will improve the reproducibility of these swarming motility assays and allow comparisons of swarming motility findings between and among groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Assay / methods*
  • Movement
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / physiology*
  • Quorum Sensing