The world’s largest bacterium has been found in a Caribbean swamp

Scientists have discovered the world’s largest bacterium in a swamp in the Caribbean, which, unlike most, can be seen with the naked eye and the naked eye, according to the journal Science.

Jean-Marie Woland, a marine biologist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and co-author of a study, described the thin white fiber the size of the human eyelid as “the largest bacterium ever known.” Done.

Oliver Cross, an associate professor and biologist at the University of the French West Indies and Guyana, discovered the first specimen of this bacterium – Theomargarita magnifica, or “magnificent sulfur pearl”, stuck in the sunken leaves of the Guadeloupe archipelago in the Caribbean. Sea, in 2009

Because these bacteria reach an average length of 0.9 cm, the scientist did not immediately identify it as a bacterium due to its surprisingly large size.

Subsequent genetic studies only revealed that the organism was a bacterial cell.

“It’s an incredible discovery. .

Oliver Cross also discovered bacteria attached to oyster shells, rocks and glass bottles in the Guadeloupe swamp.

Scientists have not yet been able to grow it in the lab, but researchers say the cell Has an unusual structure For bacteria.

The basic difference is that it has a large central box or vacuum (the cavity of a cell’s protoplasm), which allows it to carry out certain cellular functions in this restricted environment, without the cell being full.

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“Obtaining this large central vacuum certainly helps to avoid physical limitations (…) at the cellular level,” said Manuel Campos, a biologist at the French National Scientific Research Center who was not involved in the study.

The researchers also said they did not know why the bacterium was so large, but co-author Jean-Marie Woland speculated that it might be an adaptation that would help it avoid being eaten by smaller organisms.

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