Scientists Create Gold From Bacteria

Geo Beats
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Scientists Create Gold From Bacteria - as part of the news series by GeoBeats.

Professors at Michigan State University have found that a certain bacteria can hold up against high toxicity levels to create 24 carat gold. They have created an art installation titled ‘The Great Work of the Metal Lover,’ that uses principles of alchemy to turn the toxic liquid gold into a gold nugget using the bacteria.

In an effort to reproduce what they believe happens in nature, the researchers gave the bacteria lots of liquid gold chloride in a glass bioreactor and after about a week, it turned into 24 carat gold. They then created a series of prints with some of the bacterial gold on them that was made in the bioreactor.

“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 who worked on the project with Adam Brown, associate professor of electronic art and intermedia at Michigan State University.

The process is cost prohibitive for mass gold production but the research leads wanted to spur questions on science, environment, and greed.