Unusual bacteria eat toxic metals and give off gold nuggets

<pre>Unusual bacteria eat toxic metals and give off gold nuggets

The ancient legend of the philosophical stone of the alchemists, it turns out, has a very real, earthly and living embodiment. Only very tiny ones are bacteria C. Metallidurans, which in the course of evolution have adapted to absorb toxic heavy metals, and gold and copper became a by-product of their life activity. In the form of nano-sized ingots (so-called secondary gold).

The ability of C. Metallidurans to live in soil with a high concentration of heavy metals has always intrigued scientists. On the one hand, excellent conditions of life: no competition, because in this environment, all die, and plenty of hydrogen to extract energy. These bacteria are “fed” with copper, transferring it into a form very convenient for importing from the soil into the body, but gold is ballasted to it and this mixture is very poisonous. Why does C. Metallidurans not perish?

Now scientists have found out: the metabolism of bacteria is built on a combination of enzymes Cup A and Cop A. When the bacterium is hungry, the first is activated, it begins to absorb copper and secondary gold from the soil. Saturated, the bacterium uses the second enzyme and copper again turns into an insoluble form, which is output to the outside. Thus C. Metallidurans never tolerates a glut of toxins, and the precipitating gold forms flakes or ingots of nanometer size.

Primary gold is a substance of geological origin, very old. Secondary are products of minerals processing by various microorganisms that spread in different environments and have a small age. But scientists do not see the point of building a “gold farm” from the colonies of C. Metallidurans, they are interested in the mechanisms of transformation of substances themselves, understanding of which will allow optimizing the processes of mining.

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