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February 6 2013

Bug protects itself by turning its environment to gold


Mythical King Midas was ultimately doomed because everything he touched turned to gold. Now, the reverse has been found in bacteria that owe their survival to a natural Midas touch.

Delftia acidovorans lives in sticky biofilms that form on top of gold deposits, but exposure to dissolved gold ions can kill it. That's because although metallic gold is unreactive, the ions are toxic.

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