Science

Researchers Discover Bacteria That Can Produce Pure Gold

The gold you see in the photo above was not found in a river or a mine. It was produced by a bacteria that, according to researchers at Michigan State University, can survive in extreme toxic environments and create 24-karat gold nuggets. Pure gold.

Maybe this critter can save us all from the global economic crisis.

Or at least make Kazem Kashefi — assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics — and Adam Brown — associate professor of electronic art and intermedia — rich. They are the ones who have created a compact laboratory that uses the bacteria Cupriavidus metallidurans to turn gold chloride — a toxic chemical liquid you can find in nature — into 99.9 per cent pure gold.

Accoding to Kashefi, they are doing “microbial alchemy” by “something that has no value into a solid, precious metal that’s valuable”.

The bacteria is incredibly resistant to this toxic element. In fact, it’s 25 times stronger than previously thought. The researchers’ compact factory — which they named The Great Work of the Metal Lover — holds the bacteria as they feed it the gold chloride. In about a week, the bacteria does its job, processing all that junk into the precious metal — a process they believe happens regularly in nature.

So, yes, basically, Cupriavidus metallidurans can eat toxins and poop out gold nuggets.

It seems that medieval alchemists were looking for the Philosopher’s Stone — the magic element that could turn lead to gold — in the wrong place. It’s not a mineral. It’s a bug. [Michigan State University]


The gold laboratory created by Kashefi and Brown. It contains the bacteria and the toxic crap they feed it.


This is Cupriavidus metallidurans in action, eating away the toxins and producing the gold.


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