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Stained micrograph of Thiomargarita namibiensis
Stained micrograph of Thiomargarita namibiensis
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Bacteria
Phylum: Pseudomonadota
Class: Gammaproteobacteria
Order: Thiotrichales
Family: Thiotrichaceae
Genus: Thiomargarita
Schulz et al. 1999[1][2]

Thiomargarita is a genus (family Thiotrichaceae) which includes the vacuolate sulfur bacteria species Thiomargarita namibiensis, Candidatus Thiomargarita nelsonii, and Ca. Thiomargarita joergensii.[4] In 2022, scientists working in a Caribbean mangrove discovered an extremely large member of the genus, provisionally named T. magnifica, whose cells are easily visible to the naked eye at up to 2 centimetres (0.79 in) long.[5]

Thiomargarita namibiensis, collecting nitrate and oxygen in water above the bottom in case of being resuspended and collecting sulfide in the sediments

Representatives of this genus can be found in a variety of environments that are rich in hydrogen sulfide, including methane seeps, mud volcanoes, brine pools, and organic-rich sediments such as those found beneath the Benguela Current and Humboldt Current. These bacteria are generally considered to be chemolithotrophs that utilize reduced inorganic species of sulfur as metabolic electron donors to produce energy for the fixation of carbon into biomass. Carbon fixation occurs via the Calvin Benson Bassham cycle and possibly the reverse Krebs cycle.[6]


  1. ^ "Thiomargarita". NCBI taxonomy. Bethesda, MD: National Center for Biotechnology Information. Retrieved 29 December 2017. Lineage( full ) cellular organisms; Bacteria; Proteobacteria; Gammaproteobacteria; Thiotrichales; Thiotrichaceae
  2. ^ Schulz, H.N., Brinkhoff, T., Ferdelman, T.G., Marine, M.H., Teske, A., Jorgensen, B.B. "Dense populations of a giant sulfur bacterium in Namibian shelf sediments." Science (1999) 284:493-495.
  3. ^ Volland, Jean-Marie; Gonzalez Rizzo, Silvina; Gros, Olivier; Tyml, Tomáš; Ivanova, Natalia; Schulz, Frederik; Goudeau, Danielle; Elisabeth, Nathalie H; Nath, Nandita; Udwary, Daniel; Malmstrom, Rex R; Guidi-Rontani, Chantal; Bolte-Kluge, Susanne; Davies, Karen M; Jean, Maïtena R; Mansot, Jean-Louis; Mouncey, Nigel J; Angert, Esther; Woyke, Tanja; Date, Shailesh V (23 Jun 2022), A centimeter-long bacterium with DNA compartmentalized in membrane-bound organelles, vol. 376, Science, pp. 1453–1458
  4. ^ Salman, Verena; Amann, Rudolf; Girnth, Anne-Christin; Polerecky, Lubos; Bailey, Jake V.; Høgslund, Signe; Jessen, Gerdhard; Pantoja, Silvio; Schulz-Vogt, Heide N. (2011-06-01). "A single-cell sequencing approach to the classification of large, vacuolated sulfur bacteria". Systematic and Applied Microbiology. 34 (4): 243–259. doi:10.1016/j.syapm.2011.02.001. ISSN 1618-0984. PMID 21498017.
  5. ^ Pennisi, Elizabeth (23 February 2022). "Largest bacterium ever discovered has an unexpectedly complex cell". Science. doi:10.1126/science.ada1620. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  6. ^ Flood, Beverly E.; Fliss, Palmer; Jones, Daniel S.; Dick, Gregory J.; Jain, Sunit; Kaster, Anne-Kristin; Winkel, Matthias; Mußmann, Marc; Bailey, Jake (2016-01-01). "Single-Cell (Meta-)Genomics of a Dimorphic Candidatus Thiomargarita nelsonii Reveals Genomic Plasticity". Frontiers in Microbiology. 7: 603. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2016.00603. PMC 4853749. PMID 27199933.