But before you grab your lab coat and rush out to nab some of the gold -pooping bacteria, stop. It is about as rare as the precious metal itself. And if you’re thinking you can synthesize the reaction in your basement using your gold jewelry, think again. The bacteria is grown on large concentrations of gold chloride — the toxic metal in question — also known as liquid gold.
Michigan State University announced on Oct. 1 that Associate Professor of electronic art and intermedia Adam Brown and his colleague, Assistant Professor of microbiology and molecular genetics Kazem Kashefi had found that the metal-tolerant bacteria could grow in the highly toxic environment. In fact, Kashefi and Brown found that the bacteria is 25 times stronger than had been previously reported. The process, according to Kashefi, is called “microbial alchemy,” and it’s on display in an art installation called “The Great Work of the Metal Lover.”
“This is neo-alchemy. Every part, every detail of the project is a cross between modern microbiology and alchemy,” Brown said"