An Aussie gold-digger fungi finds gold and mines it too
- Researchers in Australia have discovered a new type of fungi that can not only detect gold, but pull it onto itself.
gold digging fungicould provide a new way to excavate gold without actually having to drill below the surface.
- The gold doesn’t just make the fungi shiny but allows it grow faster and spread larger than its counterparts.
So, not only can it find gold stored deep within the Earth’s pockets, but it can also pull it onto the surface without human intervention.
Fungi can oxidise tiny particles of gold and precipitate it on their strands – this cycling process may contribute to how gold and other elements are distributed around the Earth's surface.
And, it’s not just for show. The gold-coated fungi grows faster and spreads farther than ordinary fungi found in the same region of Western Australia.
Fusarium oxysporum, the fungi, uses its strands to dissolve any gold that it comes in contact with. Tsing Bohu, the lead researcher of the study published in Nature Communications agrees, "Gold is so chemically inactive that this interaction is both unusual and surprising - it had to be seen to be believed."
Shiny but mysterious
Researchers from the Australia’s national
What they do know for sure is that this fungi can be used to go gold digging — and it’s all natural.
We want to understand if the fungi we studied.... can be used in combination with these exploration tools to help the industry to target prospective areas.
Gold digging fungi
Ravi Anand, the Chief Research Scientist at CSIRO, explains that natural methods to hunt for gold are already being used in the field — but it’s restricted to detecting where gold could be stored.
Understanding how the fungi works could yield a new way that would be more cost-effective and less impactful than having to actually drill below the surface.
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