A brackish lagoon at Itaipu, Brazil, contains magnetotactic bacteria with unusually large magnetite magnetosomes (lengths 100–200 nm). The micromagnetic structures of the magnetosomes from two different coccoid organisms from the lagoon have been determined by electron holography. The results are consistent with single-magnetic-domain structure in the elongated magnetosomes from one organism and metastable, single-magnetic-domain structure in the larger, more equi-axed, magnetosomes from the other organism. The results are consistent with theoretical predictions of the transition dimension between stable and metastable single-domain structure in magnetite.

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