Iranian researcher Kazem Kashefi along with his American colleague has created gold in Michigan State University using bacteria in a way called ‘microbial alchemy.’
Kashefi and Adam Brown used a special type of bacterium to turn liquid gold into more valuable 24-karat gold.
They reported that the bacteria Cupriavidus metallidurans is capable of resisting the toxic effects of gold chloride, and can transform large concentrations of the substance into 24-karat gold, Science Daily reports.
“Microbial alchemy is what we are doing, transforming gold from something that has no value into a solid, precious metal that is valuable,” said the assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics Kazem Kashefi.
Researchers proved the point with their art installation ‘The Great Work for the Metal Lover,’ in which colonies of the hardy bacteria were fed with massive doses of gold chloride. In about a week, the bacteria produced a gold nugget.
Their artwork contains a portable laboratory made of 24-karat gold-plated hardware, a glass bioreactor and the bacteria, a combination that produces gold in front of the audience.
“This is neo-alchemy. Every part, every detail of the project is a cross between modern microbiology and alchemy,” said the associate professor of electronic art and intermedia, Adam Brown.
“Science tries to explain the phenomenological world. As an artist, I m trying to create a phenomenon. Art has the ability to push scientific inquiry,” he added.