Giant bacteria discovered that can be seen with the naked eye

The magnificent Thiomargarita is 50 times larger than the bacteria considered as giants. Photo:

The microscope is the tool to see bacteria, but for the recently discovered Magnificent Thiomargarite will not be necessary, since it measures up to one centimeter and can be seen with the naked eye.

Due to its dimensions, it is already considered the world’s largest bacteriais 50 times the size of giant bacteria, and was discovered living in the leaves of the sunken and decaying mangroves of the French Caribbean.

The study of the discovery of the bacterium Magnificent Thiomargarite was published in the journal Science.

The bacterium was discovered living on the leaves of sunken, decaying mangroves in the French Caribbean. Photo: Pierre Yves Pascal

“Discovering this bacterium is like finding a human who was as tall as Mount Everest,” he said. Jean-Marie Vollandlead author of the study.

Volland and his team were surprised by the complex structure of the bacterium and refers to the way in which the cell organizes its interior.

What is its difference from the other bacteria?

The bacteria would normally have their DNA floating freely in the fluid or cytoplasm that fills their bodies, but the T. magnifica stores its genetic material in compartments that researchers call peppersfrom the French fruit seeds.

These membrane-bound compartments are metabolically active, our analyzes show, with activity occurring throughout the length of the bacterial cell, rather than just at its growing end.

It is possible that this unique spatial organization and membrane bioenergetic system, which indicate increased complexity in the lineage of Thiomargaritahave allowed this bacterium to overcome the limitations related to size and volume that are usually associated with bacteria, as the researchers point out.

The dimensions of the bacteria Thiomargarita magnificent are comparable to an eyelash. Photo: Jean-Marie Volland

How do you feed the Magnificent Thiomargarite?

Research indicates that the T. magnificent it is a bacterium chemosyntheticsince it produces the sugars it needs to feed itself by oxidizing the sulfur compounds produced by decomposing organic matter in the mangrove sediments.

All you need is something solid to hold on to. “I found them attached to oyster shells, to leaves and branches, but also to glass bottles, plastic bottles or ropes,” said Professor Olivier Gros, a microbiologist at the University of the West Indies.

“They only need a hard substrate to be in contact with the sulfides and in contact with seawater to obtain oxygen and CO2. The highest concentration of Thiomargarita I found was in a plastic bag, unfortunately, “said the specialist.

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