Bacteria That Makes Gold Discovered By Microbial Alchemists

The next gold rush won’t happen in a river bed or a mine. It will occur in a laboratory. A group of scientists in Michigan have discovered a bacteria that can make gold.

According to Gizmodo, the bacteria cupriavidus metallidurans can turn gold chloride into 99.9% pure gold.

The discovery was made by Kazem Kashefi, the assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, and Adam Brown, the associate professor of electronic art and intermedia at Michigan State University.

Kashefi told Gizmodo:

‘Microbial alchemy is what we’re doing – transforming something that has no value into a solid, precious metal that’s valuable.”

The Daily Mail reports that Kashefi and Brown created an art installation called The Great Work of the Metal Lover which puts the magic bacteria on display. Brown and Kashefi feed the bacteria large amounts of gold chloride and in about a week the bacteria makes gold. Kashefi believes that a similar process occurs in nature. The Great Work Of the Metal Lover just speeds up the process.

Brown 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.”

Here’s a photo of some of the gold created by the bacteria.

bacteria makes gold

Brown admits that the process is too expensive to replicate on a large scale so don’t expect to purchase bacteria gold anytime soon.