Some bacteria move by 'pushing' off secreted carbohydrate slime.


"Gliding motion across surfaces, usually with slime--whether or not by the same scheme--occurs in procaryotic organisms (bacteria and their kin) as well. It's based on either of two mechanisms. Bacteria are often covered with tiny hairs, pili; retraction of one type (designated IV) through their outer membranes can move them around. Alternatively, they can secrete carbohydrate slime rearward to get a push (Kaiser 2000; Merz and Forest 2002)." (Vogel 2003:450)

Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World, Second EditionPrinceton University PressOctober 27, 2016
Steven Vogel

Journal article
How do pili pull?Kaiser, D

Journal article
Bacterial surface motility: slime trails, grappling hooks, and nozzlesMerz, AJ; Forest, KT

Journal article
Bacterial motility: how do pili pull?Kaiser, D