A Modelling Study of Bacterial Populations Under Finite Antibiotic Exposure




Balkowski, Alvaro

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University of Guelph


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the greatest challenges to modern medicine. Mathematical modelling proves to be a powerful tool in researching new methods for combating AMR by furthering our understanding of bacterial response to antibiotics. Traditionally, it is understood that bacteria become vulnerable to antibiotics through substrate consumption. This study presents an alternate perspective in which bacteria bolster defences by rapidly consuming substrate upon antibiotic exposure. Through incorporation of algebraic terms for cell maintenance, retention, and viability into the continuous standard chemostat model, we account for changes in low biomass densities while retaining the benefits of continuous bacterial growth models. To determine which factors cause bacterial recovery, numerical simulations were used to replicate variations in system conditions of a finite duration antibiotic treatment. We determined that bacterial recovery depended directly on the biomass concentration at the conclusion of treatment and indirectly on substrate concentration and treatment phase duration. The results demonstrate that modifying a continuous bacterial growth model is a viable strategy for simulating bacterial exposure to antibiotics.



Math, Antibiotics, bacteria, model, treatment, mathematical modelling, chemostat