Quantifying entropy production in active fluctuations of the hair-cell bundle from time irreversibility and uncertainty relations
We introduce lower bounds for the rate of entropy production of an active stochastic process by quantifying the irreversibility of stochastic traces obtained from mesoscopic degrees of freedom. Our measures of irreversibility reveal signatures of time’s arrow and provide bounds for entropy production even in the case of active fluctuations that have no drift. We apply these irreversibility measures to experimental recordings of spontaneous hair-bundle oscillations in mechanosensory hair cells from the ear of the bullfrog. By analyzing the fluctuations of only the tip position of hair bundles, we reveal irreversibility in active oscillations and estimate an associated rate of entropy production of at least ∼3k
B/s, on average. Applying thermodynamic uncertainty relations, we predict that measuring both the tip position of the hair bundle and the mechano-electrical transduction current that enters the hair cell leads to tighter lower bounds for the rate of entropy production, up to ∼103
B/s in the oscillatory regime.