Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Midas Bug -- Bacterial Alchemy Of Gold

Date:
August 2, 2006
Source:
CSIRO Australia
Summary:
Bacteria play an important role in the formation of gold nuggets in Australia according to new research published this month in the journal Science.

Coloured scanning electron image of bacterioform gold on a gold grain from the Hit or Miss Mine in northern Queensland.
Credit: Image courtesy of CSIRO Australia

Bacteria play an important role in the formation of gold nuggets in Australia according to new research published this month in the journal Science.

Related Articles


The paper highlights the findings of a Cooperative Research Centre for Landscape Environments and Mineral Exploration (CRC LEME) project by CSIRO researcher, Dr Frank Reith.

Dr Reith’s research has shown that bacteria play a significant role in the formation of secondary gold grains.

His study of gold grains from the Tomakin Park and Hit or Miss gold mines in southern New South Wales and northern Queensland, respectively, led to a series of discoveries, which showed that specific bacteria present on these gold grains precipitate gold from solution.

“The origin of secondary gold grains is a controversial topic that is widely debated within the scientific community,” Dr Reith said.

“There are those who believe the grains are purely detrital, while others believe they form by chemical accretion.

“A third theory suggest that microbial processes are involved in gold grain formation which may be responsible for one of the largest gold deposits in the world, the Witwatersrand deposit in South Africa.”

Applying molecular biology techniques, Dr Reith discovered a living biofilm on the surface of gold grains collected. DNA profiling of this biofilm identified 30 bacterial species with populations unique to the gold grains when compared to the surrounding soils.

One species was identified on all of the DNA-positive gold grains from both locations. DNA sequence analysis of this species identified it as the bacterium Ralstonia metallidurans.

“The next step was to see if we could observe gold precipitation in the presence of a culture of this bacteria,” Dr Reith said.

“By placing a culture of the R. metallidurans in the presence of dissolved gold, which is highly toxic to microorgansims, I observed active gold precipitation.

“A unique attribute of R. metallidurans is that it is able to survive in concentrations of gold that would kill most other micro-organisms.”

This research has significance for the mineral exploration industry – as current models of gold formation do not include a biological mechanism.

“There may be new opportunities for the bio-processing of gold ores now that we have discovered bacteria that precipitants gold out of solution,” Dr Reith said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CSIRO Australia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

CSIRO Australia. "The Midas Bug -- Bacterial Alchemy Of Gold." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 August 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060802103513.htm>.
CSIRO Australia. (2006, August 2). The Midas Bug -- Bacterial Alchemy Of Gold. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060802103513.htm
CSIRO Australia. "The Midas Bug -- Bacterial Alchemy Of Gold." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060802103513.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

Raw: Buffalo Residents Digging Out, Helping out

AP (Nov. 22, 2014) Hundreds of volunteers joined a 'shovel brigade' in Buffalo, New York on Saturday, as the city was living up to its nickname, "The City of Good Neighbors." Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

Toyota's Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Green Car Soon Available in the US

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Toyota presented its hydrogen fuel-cell compact car called "Mirai" to US consumers at the Los Angeles auto show. The car should go on sale in 2015 for around $60.000. It combines stored hydrogen with oxygen to generate its own power. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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