Golden mushrooms — the new gold diggers

The filamentous fungi attach gold thread to his, dissolving and precipitating particles from the environment. This process will help find new gold deposits. This may be a biological advantage, since gold-covered mushrooms grow and spread faster than the mushrooms, which do not interact with gold. The discovery was made by Australian science Agency CSIRO and published in the journal Nature Communications.

“Fungi can oxidize tiny particles of gold and deposited it in their threads — this cycle may contribute to the distribution of gold and other elements at the surface of the Earth,” said lead author, CSIRO Dr. Tsing Bohu.

How to mine gold in the future

Fungi are well known to play an important role in the degradation and recycling of organic materials such as leaves and bark, as well as in the cycle of other metals, including aluminum, iron, manganese and calcium. But gold is so chemically inactive that it is the interaction and at the same time unusual and surprising — it had to see it to believe it.

Dr. Bohu conducting further analysis and modeling to understand why the mushrooms interact with gold, and is this a sign of the existence of large deposits below the surface.

Australia is the second largest gold producer in the world. Although gold production has reached record peaks in 2018, projections show that in the near future, production will be reduced, if not found new gold deposits.

For a new generation of discoveries need new research tools with a low impact on the environment. CSIRO uses innovative science and technology to solve the most complex tasks, such as ensuring the world’s sustainable resources.

The industry actively uses innovative methods of sampling, such as eucalyptus leaves and a mound of termites — they can store tiny traces of gold and contact with large deposits below the surface.

“We want to understand whether the studied fungi, known as Fusarium oxsporum — and their functional genes to be used in conjunction with tools for research and to help industry to identify promising areas so that it would be less disruptive and expensive than drilling”.

The researchers also emphasize the potential of using mushrooms as a tool of bioremediation for the recovery of gold from waste.

Oxsporum Fusarium is commonly found in soils worldwide and produces pink mycelium or “flower”, but scientists will be looking for them, and the gold particles that are visible only under the microscope. Perhaps in the future, “Golden mushrooms” will find and mine gold for us and for us.

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