The Gold Extracting Bacteria: Ralstonia Metallidurans

Gold and Ralstonia Metallidurans

Alchemists and scientists have always been dreaming of turning different elements into gold. Maybe the time came to make that dream a reality.

In a sense, a certain bacteria consume elements and toxic compounds, extracting the yellow metal in the process from those compounds giving us pure 24 karats gold. Thus, this microbe turns earth into pure gold!

An Australian team of researchers discovered a certain type of Bacteria, called “Ralstonia Metallidurans” that lives near gold mines. They found these bacteria near two different Australian gold mines, living inside gold grains.

They studied this organism and found out that it works as micro-soil filter. It reacts with heavy metals in liquid state and turns it into more pure solid state. Thus, these bacteria “clean” and refine gold in their surrounding environment so they can have a better metabolism.

The process itself of refining gold is yet to be known. However, researchers said that most likely, the bacteria excrete a bio-substance to screen gold to detoxify its surroundings.

The alchemic dream of turning dust to gold is still not possible, as these bacteria requires the existence of gold in order to refine it. However, it might be a cheaper and cleaner way to refine gold, rather than using toxic cyanide and mercury. Moreover, the Ralstonia Metallidurans can be used to produce bio-electricity through enzymes used in making fuel cells.

It’s a win-win situation for gold miners companies; no pollution problems with the locals and cheaper electricity. Although this discovery is years old, research results of practical uses of these bacteria haven’t seen the light yet.