Now classified as the world's biggest bacterium, T. magnifica was discovered living on sunken, decaying mangrove tree leaves in the French Caribb

Record bacterium discovered as long as human eyelash

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2022-06-23 20:30:07

Now classified as the world's biggest bacterium, T. magnifica was discovered living on sunken, decaying mangrove tree leaves in the French Caribbean.

"These bacteria are about 5,000 times larger than most bacteria. And to put things into perspective, it is the equivalent for us humans to encounter another human who would be as tall as Mount Everest," said Jean-Marie Volland from the Joint Genome Institute at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in the US.

Centimetre-long T. magnifica is not the largest single-celled organism on Earth. That's probably a type of aquatic alga called Caulerpa taxifolia which is 10 times longer still. But the bacterium is definitely impressive when you consider there are many, much more complex life forms on Earth that require some sort of magnification to be observed. Think of those really teeny worms and flies out there.

T. magnifica was first identified back in 2009 in Guadeloupe, in the Lesser Antilles. But it was initially put to one side. Only recently have Dr Volland and colleagues got around to studying it in detail.

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