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Bacteria-Formed Gold

The Great Work of the Metal Lover Installation Has the Midas Touch

— October 5, 2012 — Tech
The Great Work of the Metal Lover art installation is steeped in technology and science. That is because it was put together by researchers from the Michigan State University. These researchers have manufactured the midas touch. Using a bacteria called Cupriavidus metallidurans, they are essentially able to turn substances of no value into a solid precious metal. Although they could have easily used this knowledge to take over the world, the researchers have decided to share the experience with the world instead.

Using a glass bioreactor, The Great Work of the Metal Lover art installation turns large amounts of the toxic gold chloride into gold nuggets over the span of a week by exposing it to the bacteria. The installation is described as a mashup of biotechnology, art and alchemy.
Trend Themes
1. Microbial Metal Production - Researchers are using bacteria to turn substances of no value into precious metals, presenting opportunities for biotechnology and metal-mining industries to explore microbial-based production processes.
2. Synthetic Biology Art Installations - The fusion of science and art in the Great Work of the Metal Lover installation opens up opportunities for artists using synthetic biology to create interactive displays and installations.
3. Toxic Waste Reduction - The use of bacteria to produce gold from toxic waste can spur innovations in the waste reduction industry to develop ways of harnessing bacteria to clean up hazardous and toxic waste materials while producing valuable metals.
Industry Implications
1. Biotechnology - The advancement of microbial metal production can lead to further developments in the biotechnology industry.
2. Mining - The use of bacteria to produce gold from toxic waste presents opportunities for the mining industry to reduce its environmental footprint and lower the use of traditional metal-mining techniques.
3. Art and Design - The combination of science and art in installations, like the Great Work of the Metal Lover, pave the way for new opportunities for artists and designers to create interactive and innovative displays.
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