by Alex Francis
Jesus turned water into wine, so could scientists soon turn water into gold? As crazy as it may sound, researchers have identified a type of bacteria that secretes a molecule that could produce gold nuggets out of seawater. Their findings were recently reported in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.
The bacterium, Delftia acidovorans, transforms the toxic soluble gold ions that can be found in the ocean and other natural water resources into solid gold particles through the manufacturing and excretion of a molecule known as delftibactin. This molecule simultaneously protects the organism from the toxins and transforms the ions into particles. The gold biomineralization process occurs within seconds in pH-neutral conditions at room temperature.
Nathan Magarvey, co-author of the study that first isolated the delftibactin molecule, explained that while their intention was not to prove if growing gold from water would be feasible, it does seem “distinctly possible.”
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