Scientists Discover ‘Gigantic’ Bacteria Visible Without a Microscope OCN News

Bacteria are so small that we have to use a microscope to see them, but a newly discovered bacterium is so big that it is visible to the naked eye.

The new bacterium was discovered by marine biology professor Olivier Gros of the University of the West Indies, while searching for sulfur-oxidizing symbionts in mangrove sediments in Guadeloupe in 2009, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Noted in a press release.

They were first observed as thin “sprinkle-like” strands along with other debris in the petri dish. But microscopy studies revealed that the strands were actually bacteria so large they can be seen without the aid of a microscope.

Specifically, the newly discovered bacterium, which scientists named Thiomargarita magnifica because of its large size, is about 5,000 times larger than other bacteria, said study co-author Jean-Marie Volland du US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (JGI) and the Laboratory for Complex Systems Research (LRC) in California, according to the press release.

In fact, most cells of bacterial species are around 2 micrometers long, with the largest specimens measuring around 750 micrometers, the researchers wrote in their paper describing the finding. published Thursday in the journal Science. But the average length of T. magnifica cells is 9,000 micrometers and it can grow up to 2 centimeters long.

“To understand how gigantic it is for a bacterium, it’s like finding a human as big as Everest,” Volland said. Told CNN.

“These cells grow orders of magnitude beyond the theoretical limits of bacterial cell size,” the researchers wrote.

Another interesting finding about T. magnifica, aside from its relatively gigantic size, is that it contains structures that contain their DNA. These structures also “compartmentalize” DNA from the cytoplasm. This, Volland explained, has never been seen in bacteria before. In most bacteria, their DNA simply floats freely in the cytoplasm.