An impressive discovery was made in a Caribbean mangrove on the leaves of an archipelago off the island of Guadalupe, it is the bacterium biggest in the world.
It is so immense that it can be seen by the human eye and is the size of an eyelash, which contrasts with the microscopic size of the vast majority.
It is “by far the largest bacterium known to date,” said Jean-Marie Volland, a marine biologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and co-author of a paper announcing the discovery Thursday, June 23, in the journal Science.
“This is an amazing discovery,” said Petra Levin, a microbiologist at Washington University in St. Louis, who was not involved in the study. “She opens up the question of how many of these giant bacteria exist, and she reminds us to never underestimate bacteria.”
Scientists have not yet been able to grow it in laboratory culture, but the researchers say the cell has a structure that is unusual for bacteria. One key difference: It has a large central compartment, or vacuole, which allows some cellular functions to occur in that controlled environment rather than throughout the cell.