How Long Would It Take Bacteria to Eat the Earth?

A trillion bacteria weigh one gram, 500 million bacteria fit in a grain of sand, and other answers from order-of-magnitude thinking.

Niko McCarty
14 min readAug 14, 2020

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An artist’s rendering of microbes. Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash.

When I first heard that bacteria in the body outnumber human cells ten-to-one, eight years ago, I thought, “Now that is truly terrifying, to be mostly…

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Niko McCarty

Science journalism at NYU. Previously Caltech, Imperial College. #SynBio newsletter: https://synbio.substack.com Web: https://nikomccarty.com