Scientists Discover Largest Bacterium That Is Longer Than a Housefly

By: | March 3rd, 2022

Gut Bacteria

Enzymes found in bacteria could help fuel a new clean energy source Photo by IBM Research / CC BY-ND 2.0

Bacteria are small single-celled organisms, that are found almost everywhere on Earth. Till now Bacteria were considered microscopic organisms that were invisible to the naked eye.

But not anymore!

Biologists have discovered a bacterium that is bigger than a fruit fly. It is about 0.78 inches (2 centimetres) long and is shaped like a string. Although it is visible to the naked eye, it is still a single-celled organism.

The biggest previously known species of bacteria was Thiomargarita namibiensis, which is about 750 micrometers or 0.75 mm long. Unlike most species of bacteria that measure between one and five micrometers long, this newly discovered species is about 9,000 micrometers (0.9 cm/0.4 in), and the largest recorded specimen that reaches 2 cm.

This newly discovered bacterium is somewhat different, it contains a water-filled sac that makes up over 70% of its volume

“All too often, bacteria are thought of as small, simple, ‘unevolved’ life-forms — so-called ‘bags of proteins,'” as per Chris Greening, a microbiologist at Monash University who was not involved in the study “But this bacterium shows this couldn’t be much further from the truth.”

This study was published in the preprint database bioRxiv.


Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

More articles from Industry Tap...