Abstract

The biosphere catalyzes a variety of biogeochemical reactions that can transform gold. Microbial weathering contributes to the mobilization of gold by releasing elemental gold trapped within minerals and by solubilizing gold via oxidation-promoting complexation. Subsequent microbial destabilization of gold complexes coupled with bioprecipitation and biomineralization can immobilize gold, completing the cycle. Secondary gold can occur as colloidal particles, crystalline gold and bacteriomorphic structures, the latter being a controversial form of `biogenic' gold.

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