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Copper remains one of the most used metals, with applications for electrical and electronic wiring and a catalyst used in chemical processes for power plants - and a new method of harvesting copper might be more efficient and safer than existing methods.

A team of researchers from the Cullen College of Engineering and the College of Technology at the University of Houston, together with the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, have presented their studies on how bacteria discovered in copper mines are capable of synthesizing stable copper, in its single-atom zero-valent form, from naturally-occurring toxic copper ions.

Researchers present their findings on these stable copper synthesizing bacteria in a paper titled "Copper mining bacteria: Converting toxic copper ions into a stable single-atom copper," appearing in this month's Science Advances journal.

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