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They discover the largest bacteria in the world that can be seen with the naked eye


The nearly one centimeter long organism is approximately 5,000 times larger than other species of bacteria.

Scientists discovered in a swamp of Guadeloupe, an archipelago of the Antilles, in the Caribbean Sea, the largest bacterium in the world known to date. It is ‘Thiomargarita magnifica’ which measures almost one centimeter in length, has the shape of a white filament and is the first prokaryote that can be seen with the naked eye, according to a study published this Thursday in Science magazine.

The organism, approximately 5,000 times larger than most other bacteria, was found on the surface of decomposing mangrove leaves in tropical marshes and amazed biologists, since, according to models of cellular metabolism, bacteria should not grow so much.

“To put it in context, it would be like a human meeting another human as high as Mount Everest”, said a co-author of the study Jean-Marie Volland, of the Joint Genome Institute of the Department of Energy of the United States.

On the other hand, ‘Thiomar garita magnifica’ contains three times more genes than most bacteria and hundreds of thousands of copies of the genome distributed for each cell, making it unusually complex, Volland explained.

For now, the bacteria has not been detected in no other place. The researchers also pointed out that ‘ Thiomargarita magnifica’ had disappeared from the swamp where it was found by marine biologist Olivier Gros, from the University of the Antilles in Guadeloupe, so they suppose that, perhaps, is of seasonal organisms.

The research team is still not sure how the bacterium evolved to reach its size, although they suggested that the organism may have adapted to protect itself from predators.

“If you grow hundreds or thousands of times larger than your predator, you cannot be consumed by it”, stated Volland.


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