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
New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences