Largest bacterium in the world has been discovered – an intermediate link between the kingdoms of nature

(ORDO NEWS) — Microbiologists have discovered a new species of bacteria in the swamps of the French West Indies, which was given the name Thiomargarita magnifica.

According to the journal Science, at the moment, scientists have found samples of this microorganism up to two centimeters long.

At the same time, as suggested by microbiologists Verena Carvalho, in the event that they have minimal exposure to wind and water, they can reach even larger sizes.

Previously, microbiologists assumed that bacteria could not reach large sizes because they eat, breathe and get rid of waste by diffusion, which requires a relatively small surface area.

However, the recently discovered species, like the previous “record holder” Thiomargarita Namibiensis discovered in 1999, maintains such a large shape due to the fact that its cellular contents are pressed against the outer cell wall by a giant sac filled with water and nutrients.

Bacteria of this species have another unique feature – their genome does not float freely inside the cell, as in other bacteria, but is tightly packed in a membrane bag.

Thus, Thiomargarita magnifica can be called an “intermediate link” between bacteria and eukaryotic life forms (which include animals, plants, fungi and protozoa), which differ in that their genome is located in the cell nucleus.

Moreover, there are more than 11,000 genes in the DNA of these swamp dwellers. That’s about three times that of most bacteria and about the same number of genes as a honey bee.

“Too often, bacteria are presented as small, simple, “undeveloped” life forms – so-called “protein sacs. But this bacterium shows that such a view can be erroneous, ”concluded Monash University microbiologist Chris Greening.


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