Super-Strong Bacteria to create Gold

A team from Michigan State University discovered that Cupriavidus metallidurans, a metal-tolerant bacteria, can transform the toxic substance to produce 24-karat gold. Gold produced from the bioreactor identifies gold deposits in this digital image produced by Adam Brown, MSU associate professor of electronic art and intermedia.   Image credit G.L. Kohuth.

In our days that the value of gold has reached an all-time high, this process, known as microbial alchemy, will help scientists turn a substance of no value into a solid, precious metal.



Super-Strong Bacteria to create Gold

“The Great Work of the Metal Lover” by Adam Brown, MSU associate professor of electronic art and intermedia. Image credit G.L. Kohuth.

Super-Strong Bacteria to create Gold

Gold flecks produced by the art-science experiment “The Great Work of the Metal Lover,” by Adam Brown, MSU associate professor of electronic art and intermedia. Image credit G.L. Kohuth.

“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.



In addition, the artwork consists of a series of images made with a scanning electron microscope. Using ancient gold illumination techniques, Brown applied 24-karat gold leaf to regions of the prints where a bacterial gold deposit had been identified so that each print contains some of the gold produced in the bioreactor.

Adam Brown, associate professor of electronic art and intermedia said: “This is neo-alchemy. Every part, every detail of the project is a cross between modern microbiology and alchemy. Science tries to explain the phenomenological world. As an artist, I’m trying to create a phenomenon. Art has the ability to push scientific inquiry.”

Brown and Kashefi fed the bacteria unprecedented amounts of gold chloride, mimicking the process they believe happens in nature. In about a week, the bacteria transformed the toxins and produced a gold nugget.



via inhabitat

source Michigan State University