On the Reproduction Number of a Gut Microbiota Model

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© 2017, Society for Mathematical Biology. A spatially structured linear model of the growth of intestinal bacteria is analysed from two generational viewpoints. Firstly, the basic reproduction number associated with the bacterial population, i.e. the expected number of daughter cells per bacterium, is given explicitly in terms of biological parameters. Secondly, an alternative quantity is introduced based on the number of bacteria produced within the intestine by one bacterium originally in the external media. The latter depends on the parameters in a simpler way and provides more biological insight than the standard reproduction number, allowing the design of experimental procedures. Both quantities coincide and are equal to one at the extinction threshold, below which the bacterial population becomes extinct. Optimal values of both reproduction numbers are derived assuming parameter trade-offs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2727-2746
JournalBulletin of Mathematical Biology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Bacterial populations
  • Basic reproduction number
  • Next-generation operator
  • Transport equations


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