Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bacteria Point The Way To Gold Deposits

Date:
May 24, 2002
Source:
American Society For Microbiology
Summary:
Can bacteria help find gold? A pilot survey of 11 soil profiles across gold mining regions in the Peoples Republic of China indicates that elevated spore counts of Bacillus cereus, a common soil bacterium, were detected in areas adjacent to underlying gold deposits.

SALT LAKE CITY – May 21, 2002 -- Can bacteria help find gold? A pilot survey of 11 soil profiles across gold mining regions in the Peoples Republic of China indicates that elevated spore counts of Bacillus cereus, a common soil bacterium, were detected in areas adjacent to underlying gold deposits.

“Experimental results showed that relatively high numbers of B. cereus spores were associated with gold-containing soils, which suggested the possibility of B. cereus serving as a biogeochemical indicator of underlying gold deposits. This bioindex system may help geologists to locate the gold deposits at low cost and with improved efficiency,” says Dr. Hongmei Wang of Ohio State University, one of the researchers on the study, which was presented at the 102nd General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

With the support of the Ministry of Land and Resource and Ministry of Education of China, Dr. Wang and her collaborators had been working on microbial exploration in northwest Sichuan province, which is very famous for its abundance of gold resources. The four-year project was for her Ph.D. thesis research.

Usually gold in soluble form is toxic to microbes as well as to higher organisms. However, bacterial spores can resist harsh environmental conditions (e.g., heat, toxic chemicals, UV radiation, and desiccation) better than bacteria in normal growing stage. In auriferous (gold-containing) soils, microorganisms that can form spores will stand a better chance to survive. In this study, high numbers of B. cereus spores were found in areas of gold-containing orebodies, and they were two or three orders of magnitude higher than those in the background areas. Based on high spore numbers and their distribution patterns, mineralized areas of gold-containing deposits can be determined and the corresponding orebodies can be located if the B. cereus-based assay is combined with other exploration methods.

Experiments on the interaction between B. cereus and gold ion showed that low concentrations of gold do not affect the spore formation of B. cereus. However, when gold concentration was increased, the spore formation of B. cereus was induced, which may explain high spore numbers in gold-containing areas.

“This biotechnique will help exploration and mining companies search for underlying gold deposits with relative high gold grades. The analysis of B. cereus in the soil is simpler and cheaper than chemical methods of elemental analysis of soils and rocks. The method is, therefore, promising for the potential application in geoexploration accompanied with routine geochemical and geophysical methods,” says Dr. Wang.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society For Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Society For Microbiology. "Bacteria Point The Way To Gold Deposits." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020523075914.htm>.
American Society For Microbiology. (2002, May 24). Bacteria Point The Way To Gold Deposits. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020523075914.htm
American Society For Microbiology. "Bacteria Point The Way To Gold Deposits." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020523075914.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins