Scientists discover bacterium equal to size of peanut: Report

According to an article published by Science on Thursday, the bacterium- T. magnifica- found in Caribbean mangroves can grow up to two centimetres (cm) in length, equivalent to the size of a peanut or a fly.
Scientists have said that the discovery of this new bacterium is eye-opening and its features have astounded them.(Reuters file photo. Representative image)
Scientists have said that the discovery of this new bacterium is eye-opening and its features have astounded them.(Reuters file photo. Representative image)
Published on Feb 25, 2022 02:19 PM IST
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Written by Harshit Sabarwal | Edited by Chandrashekar Srinivasan, New Delhi

Scientists have discovered a giant bacterium from the Caribbean mangroves, according to reports.

As we all know, the size of bacteria is extremely small and is measured usually in micrometres. The smallest bacterium found till now is Pelagibacter ubique, which is at 370 to 890 nanometres (nm).

However, according to an article published by Science on Thursday, the bacterium- T. magnifica- found in Caribbean mangroves can grow up to two centimetres (cm) in length, equivalent to the size of a peanut or a fly.

The bacterium is 5,000 times larger than the size of many other microbes.

A detailed explanation about T. magnifica by preprint server bioRxiv on February 18 showed that “It is the first and the only bacteria known to date to unambiguously segregate their genetic material in membrane-bound organelles in the manner of eukaryotes and therefore challenges our concept of a bacterial cell."

The discovery of this bacteria suggested that larger and more complex bacteria might be hiding in plain site, the bioRxiv report said.

Scientists have said that the discovery of this new bacterium is eye-opening and its features have astounded them.

“When it comes to bacteria, I never say never, but this one for sure is pushing what we thought was the upper limit [of size] by 10-fold,” Verena Carvalho, a microbiologist at the University of Massachusetts, told Science on Thursday.

On the other hand, Kazuhiro Takemoto, a computational biologist at Japan's Kyushu Institute of Technology, said the bacterium could be a missing link in the evolution of complex cells, the Science article added.

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