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Bacteria turns toxic chemicals in to gold

Posted on Friday, 5 October, 2012 | Comment icon 26 comments

Image credit: Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited

Scientists have developed tiny bugs that can turn useless hazardous chemicals in to 24-karat gold.

Throughout history the ability to turn valueless materials in to gold was a prize sought relentlessly by alchemists who believed the discovery would make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. Fast forward to 2012 and scientists at Michigan State University may have come up with the next best thing - researchers have found that the bacteria Cupriavidus metallidurans is able to turn gold chloride, a toxic waste substance, in to 24-karat 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 assistant professor Kazem Kashefi. Unfortunately however the process isn't particularly cost-effective meaning that it is more expensive to enact the conversion than the actual value of the gold produced.

"The result of their research is actually an artwork, named "The Great Work of the Metal Lover"."

  View: Full article |  Source: Huffington Post

  Discuss: View comments (26)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #17 Posted by UFO_Monster on 6 October, 2012, 3:51
Perhaps there is hope for the gold standard after all?
Comment icon #18 Posted by King Fluffs on 7 October, 2012, 8:55
Awesome. Hopefully the value of gold drops, then I can paint everything with it.
Comment icon #19 Posted by DieChecker on 8 October, 2012, 5:15
That is what I was going to say. The bacteria is acting as a catalysing agent. Anyone people that got through a US high school should know what a catalysing agent is, right? So, I'm not sure this is aimed at anyone other then as Entertainment or at the truly ignornant. I wonder how much Gold Chloride there could be out there in the world? The article says it is not cost effective, except as art.
Comment icon #20 Posted by 27vet on 10 October, 2012, 19:23
Now that I think about it, we do transform some elements... U[sup]235 [/sup]into Kr[sup]92 [/sup] and Ba[sup]141...[/sup] get my drift? And of course fusion...
Comment icon #21 Posted by Moon Dog on 13 October, 2012, 14:44
Sounds like a good way to eliminate the toxic waste; and get sum of the cost back. No toxic waste + more gold. Win + Win
Comment icon #22 Posted by ~C.S.M~ on 17 October, 2012, 7:03
is that for real or just a joke? If it is real, It would ruin the gold marked. That would be sad.
Comment icon #23 Posted by DieChecker on 17 October, 2012, 21:17
I think it is real, just that it is not practical for making gold. The toxic chemical involved is less common then regular gold and is not available in large amounts. It would be about as practical as trying to process sea water to get large amounts of gold.
Comment icon #24 Posted by brothers on 20 October, 2012, 3:05
Are the two golds any different?? not even the slightest??.What about on the molecular level. I would think that older countries in poorer places in this world of ours might benefit from it if is true.Are the two golds any different?? not even the slightest??.What about on the molecular level. I would think that older countries in poorer places in this world of ours might benefit from it if is true.
Comment icon #25 Posted by Zaphod222 on 20 October, 2012, 14:42
Got a coupls of tons of gold chloride in your backyard? I wish I did, lol I doubt that gold chloride is even a tiny fraction of the chemical pollutants we have to deal with. This is a totally misleading headline.

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