Bacteria Turn Toxic Liquid Into Pure Gold Nuggets!

By Meera Dolasia on October 8, 2012

CCSS NAS-1 Word Search

Remember the story about the Goose that laid the golden eggs? Now a team of researchers from the University of Michigan has discovered bacteria that can do the same - and not just any golden eggs, but tiny nuggets of the purest form of the precious metal.

The geniuses behind this magical experiment are microbiologist Kazem Kashefi and electronic artist Adam Brown. They began with a metal-tolerant bacteria called Cupriavidus metalliduran and fed it liquid gold (III) chloride. Found in traces in the ocean, this metallic compound is highly toxic and capable of killing most living organisms especially, if exposed to it at highly concentrated levels.

However, not the Cupriavidus metalliduran. They seemed to just love it and devoured about 25 times more than any other bacteria had ever done before. After eating all that toxic liquid, they not only survived, but also, metabolized it and pooped out little nuggets of solid gold!

The scientists who believe their experiment mimics what happens in nature, did not reveal why they picked this particular bacteria or the reason they decided to conduct this cool experiment. They simply describe it as neo-alchemy, where 'every part, every detail of the project is a cross between modern microbiology and alchemy'.

However, before you get all excited, this is not a cost-effective way of mass-producing gold, because it takes too long and the poop particles are quite tiny.  Also, while the toxic liquid can be found naturally in our oceans, the amount is minuscule. Of course, it could also be manufactured in laboratories, but given that one of the raw materials it requires is gold, that kind of defeats the purpose! That is probably why, instead of keeping it a secret, the scientists have turned their fun experiment into a living art exhibit.

'The Great Work of the Metal Lover' that was showcased in Linz, Austria until October 7th, 2012 was a portable laboratory that featured a 'bioreactor' wherein a clump of the bacteria were given huge amounts of gold(111) chloride. Though it took a week, if patient, the audience was actually able to witness the pooping of the golden nuggets. For those of us that could not make it to Austria to witness this live, here is a video showing the amazing transformation!

Resources: washingtonpost.com,wired.co.uk,gizmondo.com

Share by EmailShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TwitterShare on tumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on PinterestShare on RedditShare on Edmodo
365 Comments
to use your custom avatar.
  • llllllllll6/26/2014
    OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GOLD FROM GERMS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • rich 4/3/2014
      i am so rich well i already have tried it well my store bought gold and diamonds are better.
      • crazydave444
        crazydave4443/21/2014
        OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!! GOLD FROM GERMS!!!!!!
        • skythekidrs3/14/2014
          i love the budder too
          • pride09
            pride093/13/2014
            I LOVE THE BUDDER (gold)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            • kailyc123
              kailyc1232/19/2014
              oh wow, that is so cool!!!
              • headream100
                headream1002/17/2014
                Cool how's that possible?
                • gAbBy12/10/2013
                  I hope that this is real.Becuz That would be awesome!!!!!!!!
                  • fabian11
                    fabian1112/5/2013
                    coooooool
                    • sciance lover 112/3/2013
                      I love sciance i plan to c- reat something some day that will help the world

                      Vocabulary

                      alchemybioreactorconcentrateddevouredgeniusesmetabolizedmicrobiologistminusculeorganismsprecioustoxictransformation

                      Geography

                      Austria

                      Most Popular Articles

                      Hong Kong Invaded By 1600 Paper Mache Pandas!
                      Two-Year-Old Peanut Crowned 'World's Ugliest Dog'
                      Hong Kong Invaded By 1600 Paper Mache Pandas!
                      National Ice Cream Month Starts Today!
                      Minecraft As A Mandatory Subject In School? Sweet!
                      Boo Mania Sweeps Over America (And The World)!
                      Are You Ready To 'Gangnam Style'?
                      Video Of The Week - World's Youngest Successful Singer!

                      Latest Comments

                      ... wrote:

                      ummm. THOSE ANIMALS ARE sO CEWW...
                      Video Of The Week - British Comp...

                      iscream1yeah0 wrote:

                      wow what a interseting icecream
                      Japanese Scientist Builds Robots...

                      mr.muffin wrote:

                      i have to do a report on this lu...
                      How The Increasing Plastic Debri...

                      ALA