Scientists have identified species of fungi, accumulating particles of the precious metal.
Today Australia ranks second in the world in production of gold. However, according to experts, the volume of extracted precious metals will be reduced in the near future if researchers will not find new deposits, according to the Chronicle.info with reference to Mobile technologies.
An interesting approach is offered by the scientists of the State Association scientific and applied research Australia (CSIRO). They propose to use to search for deposits of noble metal… mushrooms.
In the new work, the experts found that filamentous fungi called fusari osteroporosis (Fusarium oxysporum) are literally gold. Scientists have discovered that if we consider these fluffy mushrooms under a scanning electron microscope, we can see that their threads are “inlaid” with gold nanoparticles.
For research, the team collected a colony of mushrooms growing on soils close to the mine Boddington in Western Australia, which produces gold and copper.
Geochemical and other analyses showed that fusari osteroporosis gathers gold through chemical reactions involving underground minerals. Producing superoxide, the fungus oxidizes the collected gold, and then produces another chemical which causes dissolved gold to harden around the threads.
“Fungi can oxidize tiny particles of gold and deposited it in their threads. This cyclic process can contribute to the distribution of gold and other elements at the surface of the Earth,” – says lead author Qing Bohu (Tsing Bohu).
He recalled that fungi play an important role in the degradation and recycling of organic materials such as leaves and bark, and also in the “circulation” of other metals, including aluminum, iron, manganese and calcium.
“But gold is so chemically inactive that this interaction is unusual and amazing. It had to be seen to be believed,” says the researcher.
He admitted that it is unknown what role in the life of the fungus plays “produced” them. However, the experiments showed that fusari osteroporosis grows and spreads faster in an environment where the presence of this noble metal.
According to the team, this discovery could play a key role in the search for new gold deposits.
In the future, the specialists intend to find out whether extensive colonies of these mushrooms are a sign of the presence of gold under the earth’s surface.
Fusari osteroporosis, by the way, is widespread. Therefore, if the assumption of scientists confirmed a new way to search precious metal at the “mushroom lights” will probably help to increase the volume of gold production worldwide.
By the way, Australian scientists have been searching for alternative ways of development of the industry. For example, before they discovered that gold particles are contained in the leaves and branches of the eucalyptus tree (the root system of trees “takes” them from the soil). Other “miners” were the termites: they collect the precious metal and hoard it in their homes in a fairly large number.
In the next step, the team intends to continue studying mushrooms and their genes to create a test that reveals it is the “gold” strains. Ultimately, the search for gold at the “mushroom tips” may prove to be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than traditional exploratory drilling.
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In addition, it is possible that fusari osteroporosis will join the list of biological objects that are used as a tool of bioremediation, that is, purification of water, soil and atmosphere. In this case, scientists are interested in the process of gold recovery from various wastes.