- News Home
12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
- About Us
ScienceShot: Solid Gold, Thanks to Bacteria
3 September 2010 1:53 pm
Treasure hunters may have an unexpected ally in bacteria. The secret lies in a thin layer of microbes, known as a biofilm, that researchers found enveloping gold grains in a Queensland mine. The biofilm dissolves the gold on contact, creating toxic gold ions that can break down the bacteria's cell walls. But the bacteria fight back by transforming the ions into metallic gold nanoparticles that later coalesce into lace-like crystals across the surface. This form of gold is much purer than the original gold grains, which also contain silver and mercury, and is thus much more attractive to miners, the team reports this month in Geology. The researchers speculate if they could genetically modify the bacteria to fluoresce when they purify the gold, the bugs could become something even more important: Microbial metal detectors.
See more ScienceShots.