Gallery: Bacteria Harvests Precious Metals to Produce Clean Energy


Typical of industrial construction, precious metals such as gold, platinum and palladium are sometimes lost given the difficulties of effectively extracting them. However, researchers from the School of Biosciences at the University of Birmingham have found a way to use microbes, similar to the common soil bacterium Desulfovibrio desulfuricans, to recover palladium from useless industrial waste. Researchers hope that by using such forms of bacteria, high quantities of precious metals can be recaptured and recycled for use in industries. While the whole process to reclaim this little bit of metal seems overly tedious, the end result holds considerable value. Palladium itself is one of the most precious resource metals on Earth, boasting unique chemical properties. This metal can in fact be used as an active element in autocatalytic converters able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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