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Science

Super Bacteria Create Gold 180

Posted by Soulskill
from the thar-be-gold-in-them-bacteriums dept.
SchrodingerZ writes "With the price of gold skyrocketing in today's market, Michigan State University researchers have discovered a bacterium that can withstand high toxicity levels that are necessary to create natural gold. '"Microbial alchemy is what we're doing — transforming gold from something that has no value into a solid, precious metal that's valuable," said Kazem Kashefi, assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics.' The bacteria is Cupriavidus metallidurans, which is conditioned to be tolerant to heavy, toxic metals and to be 25 times stronger than most bacteria. When put into gold-chloride (a natural forming toxic liquid), the bacteria reproduces and converts the liquid into a gold nugget. The complete process takes about a week to perform. This experiment is currently on tour as an art exhibit called 'The Great Work of the Metal Lover.'"
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Super Bacteria Create Gold

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  • Wrong section (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cfalcon (779563) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @06:55PM (#41532037)

    Shouldn't we have a Newton up there instead of the Einstein?

    This is the alchemy section right?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @07:18PM (#41532247)
    Or the price of gold would plummet, some products that used a lesser alternative due to cost will switch to gold, and people needing a different store of value would just switch to something else. People investing in gold are taking some finite risk that a bunch of gold gets dumped on the market at some point anyways (whether from a new mine, or some previous holder selling).
  • New Slashdot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by poity (465672) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @07:49PM (#41532501)

    1. Get sold (again)
    2. Make 1 out of every 5 articles a troll
    3. Profit

    Seriously, though, Torvalds dirty mouth, Glenn Beck article, now "WE GOT ALKEMEE GOIN' ON HERE YO!"
    Wild week of trolling at Slashdot.

  • by dj245 (732906) on Tuesday October 02, 2012 @10:49PM (#41533893) Homepage

    Gold Chloride is not naturally occurring and expensive to make. If you managed to get hold of some gold chloride and decided for some reason you wanted the gold metal out of it, you could mix it with hydrogen peroxide or pretty much any reducing agent and get gold without having to wait a week. Or you could just heat it up on an ordinary stove (but don't breathe in).

    This is performance art, nothing more.

    No. It is research, and a terrible headline.

    Gold isn't the end goal here. Bacteria that survive in heavy metal solutions are pretty rare. Bacteria that do something useful with those heavy metal solutions are even rarer. The end goal is probably to find and/or create bacteria that can treat large quantities of contaminated water. Water contaminated with other heavy metals like lead, arsenic, etc. Unleashing a heavy-metal leeching bacteria has got to be cheaper than treating a huge quantity of contaminated water. It might take a lot longer, and not be as efficient, but you better believe there is a use and a market for bacteria that can do that. This is just a step along the way.

Prototype designs always work. -- Don Vonada

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