While they're common, their role in the natural world is poorly understood. "They're enigmatic. These bacteria are detected in many environments and they probably play important roles in microbial communities and ecosystems. But we don't yet fully understand what these ultra-small bacteria do," explains Jill Banfield, one of the researchers who acquired the images using cryogenic transmission electron microscopy.
It is thought, however, that this is as small as a cell can be while still accommodating enough material to sustain life. With an average volume of just 0.009 cubic microns, they're certainly pretty small; in fact, you could fit more than 150,000 of them into the same volume as a singleE-coli cell. And now, you known what they look like. [Nature, Berkeley Lab via Engadget]
source: gizmodo.com by Jamie Condliffe