Science

New bacterium breaks records for roughly the size, shape of an eyelash

बैक्टीरिया, <em>Ca.  Thiomargarita Magnifica</em>discovered in French Caribbean mangroves, genus <em>thiomargarita</em> is a member of.”/><figcaption class=

in great shape , bacteria, ca thiomargarita splendidDiscovered in French Caribbean mangroves is a member of the genus thiomargarita,

Tomas Tyml

Clinging to submerged debris in shallow, marine mangrove forests in the French Caribbean, tiny thread-like creatures—which are entirely visible to the naked eye—have earned the title of the largest bacteria ever known.

Measuring about a centimeter long, they are roughly the size and shape of a human eyelash, 5,000 times the size of garden-variety bacteria and 50 times the size of bacteria previously thought to be giant, warding off competition. We do. In human terms, this is like meeting a person as tall as Mount Everest.

Views of sampling sites among the mangroves of the Guadeloupe archipelago in the French Caribbean, April–May 2022.
in great shape , Views of sampling sites among the mangroves of the Guadeloupe archipelago in the French Caribbean, April–May 2022.

Pierre-Yves Pascal

Olivier Gros, a biologist at the University of the Antilles, discovered prokaryotes in 2009, watching them drift slowly in sulfur-rich waters among mangroves in the Guadeloupe archipelago. Gross said at a press briefing that the bacteria cling to leaves, branches, oyster shells and bottles that drown in tropical swamps.

He and his colleagues first thought they might be complex eukaryotic organisms or perhaps a string of connected organisms. But years of genetic and molecular research have shown that each string is, in fact, one giant bacterial cell, genetically related to other sulfur-oxidizing bacteria. “Of course, it was quite a surprise,” Jean-Marie Woland, a microbiologist at the Joint Genome Institute in Berkeley, California, said at the briefing.

This week, Gross and his colleagues published an article in Science in which they dub everything they learned about the new, giant bacteria. candidus (ca.) thiomargarita,

Their findings expand our understanding of microbial diversity in a way that microbiologists did not think possible. Scientists previously estimated that the size of bacteria would be limited by a number of factors, including a lack of intracellular transport systems, reliance on inefficient chemical diffusion, and the surface-to-volume ratio needed to meet energy needs. However, the volume of a single CA. T. grandeur Woland said the cell is at least two orders of magnitude higher than the predicted maximum that a bacterium could theoretically achieve.

Woland, Gross and colleagues are still learning how and why exactly-CA. T. grandeur Manages its enormous size. But, by now, it is clear that CA. T. grandeur Hydrogen oxidizes sulfide from its sulfur-rich atmosphere and reduces to nitrate. About 75 percent of its cell volume is a sac of stored nitrate. The sac is crushed against the cell’s envelope, allowing nutrients and other molecules to circulate.

Whereas bacteria have free-floating DNA, CA. T. grandeur It appears to have more than half a million copies of its genome bound in several membrane-bound compartments, which researchers have named pepins after the tiny seeds in the fruit. Distribution of pepin in the outer edges of bacteria may allow for localized protein production, eliminating the need to transport the protein over long distances.

The next step for scientists to study these arrogant bacteria is to figure out how to grow them in laboratories. For now, the researchers collect new samples from mangrove forests each time they are finished. But, this has become difficult as they appear to have a mysterious life cycle or seasonality. For the past two months, Gross hasn’t got any. “I don’t know where they are,” he said.

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