C.met at C-MOULD

Cupriavidus metallidurans, Gram Stain, 1000x magnification

Cupriavidus metallidurans, Gram Stain, 1000x magnification

Cupriavidus metallidurans, Gram Stain, 1000x magnification

Cupriavidus metallidurans, Gram Stain, 1000x magnification

At C-MOULD we call the bacterium in these images C.met. (short for Cupriavidus metallidurans). The owner of this rather cumbersome name, has the unique ability amongst living things (I think) to produce gold. We have just begun a project to isolate the Au-Operon (the set of genes responsible for gold synthesis) and in the first instance to  clone this into E.coli so that it too might gain the ability to produce gold. Artists might speculate that someone that consumed this bacterium would produce golden turds. We hope that the project might also form the basis of future BioFolly’s, indulgent living SynBio status symbols, such as the Sheep With The Golden Fleece or The Goose That Lays The Golden Egg.

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