Width of the barrel of a pencil
The length of an average flea
The diameter of a pinhead
The thickness of a credit card
Length of a single pixel on a
17-inch monitor with
1024 x 786 resolution
Thickness of a coat of paint
Thickness of a sheet of paper
Average width of a human hair
Average width of a wool fiber
Width of a silk fiber
Width of a polyester fiber
Width of a nylon fiber
Width of a cotton fiber
Average width of spider web silk
Depth of pits on a CD
(Compact Disc)
• Diameter of Pencil
• 0.8 cm
• 8,000 µm
An Average Flea
• Length of flea
• 0.15 cm
• 1,500 µm
• Diameter
• .1 cm
• 1,000 µm
Credit Card
• Thickness
• 0.076 cm
• 760 µm
Single Pixel
• Length of single pixel
on a 17-inch monitor
with 1024x768
• .034 cm
• 340 µm
Coat of Paint
• Thickness of a coat
of paint
• 0.01 cm
• 100 µm
• Average thickness
• 0.009 cm
• 90 µm
Human Hair
• Average width of
human hair
• 0.008 cm
• 80 µm
Wool Fiber
• Average Width
• 0.00325 cm
• 32.5 µm
Silk Fiber
• Width
• 0.0015 cm
• 15 µm
Polyester Fiber
• Width
• 0.0014 cm
• 14 µm
Nylon Fiber
• Width
• 0.0013 cm
• 13 µm
Cotton Fiber
• Width
• 0.001 cm
• 10 µm
Spider Web Silk
• Average Width of
a strand
• 0.00055 cm
• 5.5 µm
Pits on Compact Disc
• Depth
0.000012 cm
120 nm
Thiomargarita namibiensis
1 millimeter in diameter or 1000 µm
• Discovered in 1999 off the coast
of Namibia
• The largest bacterium in the
world, at a remarkable volume of
3 million times that of a normal
bacterial specimen.
• The long string of cells looked
like pearl hence named "Sulfur
pearl of Namibia”
• Found buried in the sulfurabundant sea floor sediments
• Size due to large vacuole inside
the cell that fills with nitrate that
gives it the ability to survive
periods when oxygen is lacking
Image courtesy of MicrobeWiki
and Oceanus Online Magazine
Beggiatoa 20 m or 0.002 cm
• Living on marine
sediments, at
hydrothermal vents and
marine cold seeps
• Beggiatoa bacteria live on
sulfidic marine sediments
• Make string-like filaments
which are visible to the
naked eye, in white,
orange and pink.
• Form thick 'mats' on the
sediment surface
Image courtesy of MicrobeWiki and
Microbial Diversity 1997 (Rolf Schauder).
Desuflvibrio 7 m or 0.0007 cm
• Lives in sediments at the
• Ananaerobe—lives without
the presence of O2
• Sulfate consuming
• Can also consume nitrate
and metals like iron and
• Generate hydrogen sulfide
as a waste product.
• Potential 'bioremediator' of
toxic sites
Image courtesy of MicrobeWiki and the
Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory.
Desulforudis audaxviator
4 µm or 0.0004 mm
• Only bacterium found in water
samples obtained 2.8 km
underground in the Mponeng
gold mine in South Africa
(terrestrial deep biosphere)
• Survived for millions of years on
chemical food sources that
derive from the radioactive decay
of minerals in the surrounding
• Only species known to be alone
in its ecosystem.
Public domain, NASA
Wikipedia, Desulforudis
Photobacterium profundum
2-4 µm long 0.8-1.0 µm wide
0.0002 – 0.0004 cm long
0.00008 – 0.00001 cm wide
• Originated from dark
deep sea sediments off of
the coast of Japan
• Able to grow at really high
pressures (up to 70
• Consumes nitrate plus a
variety of sugars and
other carbon compounds
to get energy
Image courtesy of MicrobeWiki and
Alcanivorax borkumensis
2-3 µm in length and 0.4-07 µm in diameter
0.0002-0.0003 cm in length
0.00004-0.00007 cm in diameter
• Found in oil polluted open
ocean and coastal waters
• Ability to degrade and live
predominately on n-alkanes
(hydrocarbons ranging from 5
to 32 chain carbons)
• Able to use dissolved organic
and inorganic nitrogen
• Dominant microbes in oilcontaminated areas
Image courtesy of American Society of
• Bioremediation potential
Microbiology and Heinrich Luensdorf,
HZI Braunschweig)
Mariprofundus ferrooxydans
2 µm or 0.0002 cm
• Found on the
hydrothermal vents on
Loihi Seamount (new
Hawai’ian Island)
• Microbe is shaped like
a kidney bean
• As it grows, consuming
iron (Fe2+) and oxygen,
it produces twisted
ribbons of rust (Fe3+)
photo courtesy Clara Chan
Shewanella loihica
1.8 µm or 0.00018 cm
• Found at hydrothermal
vents at the Loihi
Seamount, an underwater
volcano off of the coast of
the big island of Hawaii
• Can consume iron,
manganese, nitrate and
oxygen to get energy
• Temperatures down around
DOE Joint Genome Institute
• Uses nanowires to get
Arcobacter sulfidicus
1 µm or 0.0001 cm
• Lives around hydrothermal
vents at the seafloor
• A very mobile rod like
bacteria with 4 tails
• Consumes sulfide and
oxygen and produces
sulfur in filimentous form
• Prefers high sulfide, low
oxygen interfaces with
dynamic fluid movement
• Likes warm temperatures
Image courtesy of Dr. Craig Smith,
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Marinobacter aquaeolei
1 µm or 0.0001 cm
• Several strains of this cell
were found at the head of
and oil-producing well on
an offshore platform in
southern Vietnam.
• Live throughout water
column and in deep
• Have polar flagellum
• Can consume alkanes—
hydrocarbons and some
crude oil components
• Extremophiles that can
live in very salty water but
at mild temperature
Image courtesy of Microbewiki and
Methanocaldococcus jannaschii
.5 µm or 0.00005 cm
• Found in Mexico at a white
smoker-- hydrothermal vents
• Archea not bacteria
• Has an irregular spherical
• Makes methane gas from taking
in carbon dioxide and hydrogen
• ‘Extreme' environment - water
that is slightly acidic, near
boiling temperatures and high
Image courtesy of MicrobeWiki
and UC Berkley Electron
Microscope Lab.
Methanopyrus kandleri
0.5 µm or 0.00005 cm
• Found in hydrothermal vents
• Archaea not bacteria
• Capable of living in near boiling
water (up to 110°C)
• Makes methane from hydrogen
and carbon dioxide
• Considered the most divergent
methanogens (makes Methane)
based on its genetics (16s rRNA
• Uniqueness believed to be
determined by isolation because
of its environmental niche
Photo courtesy of MicrobeWiki,
copyright K.O. Stetter and R. Rachel,
Univ. Regensburg, Germany
Archaeoglobus fulgidus
.2µm or 0.00002 cm
• Found at hydrothermal vents
and deep ocean oil wells
• Archaea not bacteria
• Can produce protection
(biofilm) when the
environment stresses it with
extreme pH or temperature,
high concentrations of metal
or the addition of antibiotics or
• Consumes sulfate, making
hydrogen sulfide as a waste
• Ideal growth temperature
Image courtesy MicrobeWiki and
Nature Magazine.

pptx - Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations