Detect bacteria that can be seen with the naked eye

Scientists have discovered the largest known species of bacteria in the world, a white filament about the size of a human eyelash, in mangroves in the Caribbean.


Biologist Olivier Gros, of the University of the Antilles (French Guadeloupe archipelago in the Caribbean), discovered the bacterium Thiomargarita magnifica in 2009 while exploring the mangroves of the archipelago.

About 1 - 2cm long, Thiomargarita magnifica is about 50 times larger than previously known large bacteria, and is the first bacterium to be visible to the naked eye, according to the Guardian newspaper.

Common bacteria are about 2 micrometers long, the largest species can be 750 micrometers long. However, the average length of Thiomargarita magnifica is about 9,000 micrometers and can be as long as 20,000 micrometers (2cm).

The finding was surprising because, according to cellular metabolic models, bacteria cannot grow to such large sizes. Previously, scientists had set the limit mentioned above for the size of bacteria, but this limit is about 100 times smaller than the newly discovered species.

In a research report published in the journal Science on June 23, the team of scientists said that closer examination found that the DNA of Thiomargarita magnifica does not float freely inside cells like other bacteria, but rather lies within the cell. in small sacs inside a membrane called pepin.

"This is a very exciting discovery that opens up new questions because this is not a previously observed species of bacteria. For example, we wanted to understand more about those pepins, their role. , and whether they played a role in the evolution of these bacteria's enormous size," said Jean-Marie Volland, a marine biologist at the Laboratory of Complex Systems in California (USA). , said.


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