The microorganism is almost invisible even if observed under the most advanced microscope.
The bacteria were discovered in the groundwater and according to the experts they have an approximate volume of 0.009 cubic microns. One micron is actually the equivalent of a millionth of a meter.
The researchers claim that 150 of the recently discovered bacterium could fit into a single cell of the Escherichia coli.
Also, according to the scientists, the bacteria are so miniscule that more than 150,000 of them could fit right onto the tip of a human hair.
The researchers used DNA evidence and a special technology called comprehensive electron microscopy to determine the existence of the tiny bacteria.
The findings indicate that the bacteria are actually the smallest cells in the world that carry life.
The study shows that the cells of these bacteria have dense spirals which resemble DNA matter, very thin appendages, ribosomes and a low-life metabolic rate. Because of this the bacteria need to depend on other organisms in order to survive.
Jill Banfield, one of the researchers who studied the world’s smallest bacteria, explained that these tiny bacteria are a good example of a subset of the microbial life that exists on earth and scientists don’t know much about.
Banfield describes the ultra-small bacteria as being “enigmatic” and they are found living in many environments where they probably have important roles in their microbial ecosystems and communities. Banfield said that no one really knows for sure what exactly these almost-invisible bacteria do.
Birgit Luef, co-author of the study, said that the new research tries to establish the shape, size and internal structure of these special bacteria. According to the researcher, there isn’t a limit on how small a living organism can be, and so far the recently studied bacteria seem to be the smallest.
The researchers discovered the world’s smallest bacteria by filtering groundwater from Rifle, Colorado.
The study revealed that the small bacteria are reproducing through cell divisions, indicating that they were in a healthy condition.
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