Fungi will help gold prospectors find deposits of the precious metal

It seems that it is not only humans who like gold trinkets, because other living organisms, such as certain fungi, also have a distinct weakness for the precious metal, which can prove to be extremely helpful for us.

Humans have been appreciating gold since the dawn of time, but it looks like we’re not the only ones, because as scientists from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation have discovered, there’s also a certain type of fungi that specialize in digging for this bullion and even adorning themselves with it. So it looks like we may have accidentally discovered a new, environmentally friendly method of searching for large underground deposits.

Fusarium oxysporum, or Fusarium oxysporum as it is referred to, is a very common fungus which can be found in soils all over the world and is one of the most widespread microorganisms in soil – it has been found in the sands of the Sonora desert, in the soil of tropical and temperate forests and meadows, and in tundra soils. At the same time, it plays a very important role in the human economy, and moreover, like other fungi, it helps to move certain metals around the surface of our planet.

Usually, however, the metals involved are chemically active metals, which should rule out gold out of the blue, but fusarium oxysporum has taken a liking to them. – This fungus can oxidize gold particles and deposit them on its frass, and this process could have a big impact on how gold and other elements are distributed across the Earth’s surface, says study author Tsing Bohu. – Fungi are known for their role in degrading and recycling organic materials, as well as moving metals like aluminum, iron, magnesium and calcium. But gold is chemically inactive, which is unusual and very surprising – it has to be seen to be believed, he adds.

Scientists aren’t sure why this fungus goes to so much trouble extracting gold, but it appears to have some biological benefit. Gold-covered mushrooms appear to grow larger and spread faster than others, which in turn allows for greater soil biodiversity. What’s interesting, though, is that the new discovery may also have benefits for humans – first, the fungi can be used to recover gold from electronic garbage, for example, and second, the increased presence of fungi may indicate that there are large deposits underneath. So, in conclusion, we are waiting for the first attempts to find new deposits of this precious bullion, which could confirm the researchers’ theories.

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