Gold prospectors may one day rely on lowly bacteria to point them to deposits of the precious metal. Researchers have discovered that gold-laden soil often contains an abundance of spores belonging to a certain bacterium. The affinity humans have for gold aside, the ore in its soluble form is actually highly toxic to most living things. The common bacterium Bacillus cereus, however, possesses a unique resistance to the metal, allowing it to survive in a relatively vacant environmental niche: soil loaded with the adored ore. A paper presented yesterday at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology documents these rich findings.
It was while studying gold-mining regions in China that Hongmei Wang of Ohio State University and her colleagues discovered that high numbers of B. cereus spores occur in soils bearing elevated concentrations of gold, as compared to soils lacking gold. The key is the spore: a bacterial spore, or tough shell, forms in response to harsh environmental conditions like heat, cold, radiation, or the presence of toxic substances such as gold. Spores allow bacteria to survive until more favorable conditions develop and the bacteria can resume their normal growth. Because high gold levels induce spore formation in B. cereus, an abundance of B. cereus spores in soil can indicate the presence of gold, which is good news for mining companies.
Testing B. cereus levels is cheaper and more efficient than the painstaking techniques currently used to search for gold. "This biotechnique will help exploration and mining companies search for underlying gold deposits with relatively high gold grades," Wang remarks. "The method is, therefore, promising for the potential application in geoexploration accompanied with routine geochemical and geophysical methods."
Rachael Moeller | Scientific American
Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology
22.06.2017 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
How reliable are shells as climate archives?
21.06.2017 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
26.06.2017 | Life Sciences
26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.06.2017 | Information Technology