Among the more peculiar organisms that inhabit our Earth exists a bacterium that turns water-soluble gold into microscopic nuggets of solid gold, scientists said Sunday. …
The answer, suggest researchers in Canada, lies in a molecule excreted by the microbe that both shields the organism and transforms the poisonous ions into particles.”This finding is the first demonstration that a secreted metabolite can protect against toxic gold and cause gold biomineralisation,” the process by which living organisms produce minerals, they wrote in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.
The molecule, delftibactin A, is capable of achieving this feat within seconds in pH-neutral conditions at room temperature.
Study co-author Nathan Magarvey of Ontario’s McMaster University told AFP the study was not designed to show whether it would be viable to use germs to grow gold from water in the lab.
But such processes seem “distinctly possible,” he said in an email exchange.
via Business Insider.