Bacteria inhabit a variety of locations and play important roles in the environment and health. Our understanding of bacterial biomechanics has improved markedly in the last decade and has revealed that biomechanics play a significant role in microbial biology. The obtained knowledge has enabled investigation of complex phenomena, such as biofilm formation and the dynamics of the gut flora. A bottom-up strategy, i.e., from the cellular to the macroscale, facilitates understanding of macroscopic bacterial phenomena. In this Review, we first cover the biomechanics of individual bacteria in the bulk liquid and on surfaces as the base of complex phenomena. The collective behaviors of bacteria in simple environments are next introduced. We then introduce recent advances in biofilm biomechanics, in which adhesion force and the flow environment play crucial roles. We also review transport phenomena in the intestine and the dynamics of the gut flora, focusing on that in zebrafish. Finally, we provide an overview of the future prospects for the field.
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