Un gros blob en laboratoire

What is the size of the largest blob in the world? A creature of spectacular dimensions!

Among the most mysterious and intriguing creatures on Earth are the Physarum polycephalum, commonly referred to as a “blob”. This form of primitive and particular life appeared on the blue planet, approximately 500 million years ago, can reach spectacular dimensions.

The blob is not neither an animal nor a plant nor a mushroom. It is a single-celled living being that is found in nature, especially in damp and dark places. Scientists have also learned how to cultivate it in laboratory. This organization can reach very large sizeswhether in the forest or in the laboratory, depending on the conditions of its environment.

The giant Appalachian blob reached a total area of ​​one square kilometer.

But by the way, what is a blob?

Physarum polycephalum is an amoebozoan classified since 2015 among the myxomycetes, of the order Physarales. This creature particularly arouses the curiosity of researchers for several reasons. Indeed, if we refer to his biological life cycle, we can say thatshe is immortal.

If the conditions of its environment are unfavorable, it is capable ofgo into a state of dormancy. When the environment becomes favorable to its development, he resurrects. Even more, amazing, the blob is a gifted cell. She is able to learn from her mistakes and pass on information to her peers. She seems so gifted with memory.

“The blob is a fascinating living being, because they tell us about our origins. Appeared more than 500 million years ago, it proves to us that learning preceded the emergence of the brain. »

Audrey Dussutour

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What is the size of the Physarum polycephalum ?

the physarum polycephalum has been the subject of several scientific studies. This is the experience “Raise Your Blob” initiated by the CNES and the CNRDto which Audrey Dussutour , a French scientist, participated. Audrey Dussutour is also the author of the book Everything you ever wanted to know about the blob ». This document provides information on the surface that the creature can cover.

A large growing blob

So the blob measures five hundredths of a millimeterat the beginning of its existence. Impressive thing: it can double in size every day . That is, it grows quite quickly and becomes visible. In nature, this creature can reach an incredible size. She is able to multiply its size by 200,000during its existence.

The body is able to move. It can go up to four centimeters per hour. For example, if you leave it under the table, you might find it the next day above it, looking for food. It lives in cool and humid environments. So, it is possible to find it at home, in a park, in the forest and in culture, as well as in the laboratory of course. But don’t worry, the creature is completely harmless. She feeds of bacteria and mold.

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What are the biggest blobs in the world?

Early in his life, the Physarum polycephalum is tiny and invisible to the naked eye. However, there are blobs that cover very large areas.

Largest blob in the world found in nature – 1 square kilometer

The blob develops especially in wetlands, on the bark of trees, protected from light. Several large blobs have thus been discovered in nature. The largest was at USA, Appalachia, West Virginia. This blob reached a total area ofone square kilometer.

A blob growing in the forest

Largest laboratory blob in the world – 10 square meters

In the laboratory, blobs are particularly useful for genetic research. They are basically there oatmeal fed. According to the Guinness Book of Recordsthe largest lab-grown blob measures 10 square meters . It is obviously one and the same cell.

The fact is that the blob has the ability to split its nuclei while keeping the cell intact. Thus, a cell can have many nuclei.

A scientist concocting a blob in the laboratory

To go further, there are neither males nor females in blobs. The researchers were able to record 720 sexual types in this species! This characteristic facilitates their reproduction. Indeed, a blob has 719 chances to find a partner to merge with when it encounters another blob.

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The longest blob in the world is in France – 53.9 meters

Earlier in the year, students and “blobbers” from all over France gathered at the Blaise Pascal high school in Chateaurouxfor the Big Blob Record. This is a fun-educational event organized with the support of the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research). After merging their blobs, they created a single blob 53.9 meters long.

The record for the longest blob in the world in Châteauroux

Their creation was approved by the Guinness Book as being longest blob in the world . The previous record was held by the motor neuron of the blue whale, 30 metersfrom the cetacean’s head to its tail.

At the same time, they beat the record for longest single-celled organism. This was previously held by caulerpa, a green algae about ten meters long.

“The record has the advantage of putting a spotlight on scientific research. There is enthusiasm among the students. »

Nicolas Debus, professor of biotechnology at the Castelroussin high school

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