Scientists say they recently uncovered a bacterium that essentially devours toxic, water-soluble gold and then poops out a pure form of the precious metal, in a series of microscopic variations. While such a discovery may seem pretty insignificant, some environmental microbiologists say that these findings hold the answers to something that has perplexed them for decades.Nearly 10 years ago, microbiologist Frank Reith found some evidence that the bacteria Cupriavidus metallidurans actually feeds on gold nuggets, virtually digesting the nano-particles that it had accumulated inside its cells, but he couldn’t figure out how.

To dig deeper into how this might have been happening, researchers at McMaster University decided to grow a similar bacteria (Delftia acidovarans) in their labs and closely monitor the organism’s interaction with a gold solution. What they found was that this particular bacterium was actually producing gold particles outside its cell wall instead of inside, as with the case of Reith’s discovery in regards to the C. metallidurans.

Scientists say the bacteria is able to protect itself from toxic surroundings by turning the environment around it into gold -- a find that now poses the question: will larger gold particles form throughout the years if these organisms are left to do their business? AKA -- free gold for everyone?

Honestly, we're a little ticked off that science can afford to watch bacteria crap out gold dust but the last time we checked, a cure for herpes was nowhere in sight. Perhaps once cold sores start producing valuable metals, science will take a more active role in figuring those little boogers out.

In the meantime, stay gold, herpes boy. Stay gold.