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Scientists in the Caribbean have discovered the largest known bacterium, coming in at a centimeter or roughly the size of a human eyelash – 5,000 times larger than most bacteria.

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Scientists on the island of Guadeloupe in the French Lesser Antilles discovered the bacterium in a pile of rotting mangrove leaves, according to a report in the journal science Published Thursday.

cell—called thiomargarita magnifa– came at a distance of 10 millimeters, making it the first known bacterium visible to the naked eye.

Most bacterial cells are about 2 micrometers (or about two-thousandths of a millimeter) in length, and some specimens are as large as 750 micrometers (three-quarters of a millimeter), making the newly discovered cell about 5,000 times larger. . According to the study bacteria.

After studying the bacterium using fluorescence, X-rays and electron microscopes, the scientists realized that it could “extend an order of magnitude over the theoretical limits for bacterial cell size.”