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PICS | World’s largest bacteria discovered in France

PICS | World’s largest bacteria discovered in France


Sampling sites among the mangroves of the French Caribbean archipelago of Guadeloupe, where the giant bacteria Ca Thiomargarita magnifica was found.

Photo by Pierre-Yves PASCAL / Lawrence Berkeley Na

  • The world’s largest variety of bacteria has been discovered.
  • Scientists say they made the discovery in Guadeloup in France.
  • It is believed to be 5000 times bigger than other bacteria.

You can see it with the naked eye and pick it up with a pair of tweezers – not bad for a single bacteria.

Scientists say they have discovered the world’s largest variety in the mangroves of Guadeloupe – and it puts its peers to shame.

At up to two centimetres (three-quarters of an inch), “Thiomargarita magnifica” is not only around 5000 times bigger than most bacteria – it boasts a more complex structure, according to a study published in the journal Science on Thursday.

The discovery “shakes up a lot of knowledge” in microbiology, Olivier Gros, professor of biology at the University of the Antilles and co-author of the study, told AFP.

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In his laboratory in the Caribbean island group city of Pointe-a-Pitre, he marvelled at a test tube containing strands that look like white eyelashes.

This handout image released by Lawrence Berkeley N

Scientists say they have discovered the world’s largest variety of bacteria in the mangroves of Guadeloupe.

AFP Olivier GROS / Lawrence Berkeley National Laborato

“At first I thought it was anything but a bacterium because something two centimetres (in size) just couldn’t be one”, he said.

The researcher first spotted the strange filaments in a patch of sulphur-rich mangrove sediment in 2009.

Techniques including electronic microscopy revealed it was a bacterial…

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