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Bacteria That Make Gold Nuggets

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  • Scientists have discovered a species of bacteria that produces solid gold. The gold atoms clump together to form nuggets. Delftia acidovorans generates the metallic gold to protect itself against toxicity from soluble gold. Metallic gold is relatively inert. You can wear it as jewelry and even eat it. However, gold ions are reactive and poisonous. Canadian researchers have identified the genes in the bacteria that produces the compound delftibactin that precipitates gold ions. While it's unlikely you can culture the bacteria to make yourself rich overnight, the discovery may allow for better recovery of gold from slurries and clean-up of toxic waste water from gold mines. You can read more about the discovery in Nature Chemical Biology.

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