World's Largest Bacteria, Which Can Be Spotted With N*ked Eyes, Found In Caribbean Mangrove Swamp

The bacteria was first found in 2009 by Olivier Gros, a co-author and biologist at the University of the French West Indies and Guiana.

By Anushka Vats
Fri, 24 Jun 2022 01:04 PM IST
Minute Read
World's Largest Bacteria, Which Can Be Spotted With N*ked Eyes, Found In Caribbean Mangrove Swamp
Image Source: Reuters

Did you ever think of spotting a bacteria with your n*ked eyes? While most of the bacteria are microscopic, scientists have actually found the largest bacteria which is approximately the size of human eyelashes and can easily be spotted with the n*ked eyes.

The bacteria was discovered in a Caribbean mangrove swamp. The bacterium, Thiomargarita Magnifica, is a vermicelli-shaped organism with a measurement of 1-5 micrometers long. This species averages 10,000 micrometers (four-tenths of an inch/1 cm) long, with some Thiomargarita Magnifica twice that length.

"The thin white filament, approximately the size of a human eyelash, is by far the largest bacterium known to date," said Jean-Marie Volland, a marine biologist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The bacteria was first found in 2009 by Olivier Gros, a co-author and biologist at the University of the French West Indies and Guiana. However, he didn’t immediately know it was a bacteria because of its surprisingly large size, these bacteria, on average, reach a length of a third of an inch (0.9 centimeters).

"In 2009, I found long white filaments attached to a sunken leaf of a mangrove tree. I found such filaments intriguing. I brought them back to the lab to analyze them," Gros said. "Big surprise for me to have so huge a bacterium living in the mangroves of Guadeloupe", Gros stated.

The single-celled organism is roughly 50 times larger than all other known giant bacteria and is the first to be visible with the n*ked eye. Meanwhile, this is not the only largest-known single-celled organism, it follows the aquatic alga Caulerpa taxifolia, which measures 6-12 inches (15-30 cm).

Speaking about the same, Marine biologist Jean-Marie Volland of the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint Genome Institute, told that these two bacteria are exception. "Aside from two exceptions, there were no other bacteria known to keep their DNA inside a membrane-bound organelle. That is, in fact, a characteristic of more complex cells which have a membrane-bound nucleus, such as human cells, or animal and plant cells," she stated.

"Life is fascinating, very diverse and very complex," Volland added. "It's important to stay curious and have an open mind."

Bacteria are single-celled organisms that reside nearly everywhere on the planet, vital to its ecosystems and most living things. Bacteria are expected to be the first organisms to inhabit Earth and remain quite simple in structure billions of years later. The bodies of people are teeming with bacteria, only a relatively small number of which cause disease.

(With Reuters inputs)

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.