Mobile Phones and smartphones contain a variety of precious metals including gold, silver and copper, although getting these metals out of old devices is costly and not very efficient.
100,000 old mobile phones contain around 2.4 kilograms of gold, 900 kilograms of copper, and around 25 kilograms of silver, although the process of extracting these materials uses toxic chemicals.
When toxic chemicals are used to retieve the precious metals, only around 20 percent of the metals are recovered, although some scientists have come up with a much more efficient, and environmentally friendly way of retrieving the precious metals using mushrooms.
Finnish scientists at the VTT Technical Research Center have come up with a way to get the gold out of these old mobile phones using biomats which are made of mycelium, this is a the part of the fungi that lives under the ground.
The old mobile phones are crushed and turned into a dust, which is then passed through the mycelium, and the gold is extracted, and it is capable of extracting around 80 percent of the gold from the mobile phone dust.
The scientists have said that the mycelium can be modified to also extract other metals like silver and copper, and they expect to be able to recover around 80 percent of these metals as well.
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