Sep 22, 2021

These Bacteria Digest Toxic Metals And Poop Out Tiny Gold Nuggets

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry

Circa 2018 Imagine waste turned into gold.

No other life form on our planet has infiltrated every environment as successfully as the minuscule single cells of bacteria. Amongst their many roles in life on Earth, it turns out some of these microbes are also experts at purifying precious metals.

An international team of researchers has figured out how one metal-gobbling bacterium, Cupriavidus metallidurans, manages to ingest toxic metallic compounds and still thrive, producing tiny gold nuggets as a side-effect.

Just like many other elements, gold can move through what’s known as a biogeochemical cycle — being dissolved, shifted around, and eventually re-concentrated in Earth’s sediment.

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