A Study Claims that Cow Urine Contains Gold

In the Hindu faith, all living creatures are sacred.  The cow is particularly revered for its gentle spirit and agricultural importance.  In most of India, eating or possessing cow meat is illegal.  Cow urine is used in numerous remedies, making it almost as valuable as cow milk.  Some ancient scriptures even claim that cow urine contains gold.

Now, researchers at Junagadh Agricultural University have announced that after four years of study, they discovered that urine from Gir cows actually does contain gold.  They have found three to 10 mg of ionic gold salts per liter of urine.

JAU’s research has not yet been published or peer-reviewed.  In fact, several media outlets are skeptical.  Quora calculates that if these numbers are accurate, a farm with 100 cows would generate 2.73 kg of gold per year.  The Wire says that it would be biologically unheard of for a living organic body to synthesize inorganic metals.

It is more likely that trace metals have passed from the soil to hyperaccumulating plants before being consumed by the cows.  However, hyperaccumulators are not known for absorbing gold.

Agilent is involved in the study of trace metals in urine, usually for environmental and health research.  German researchers used an Agilent ICP-MS to measure 30 urinary trace elements in children and adults, including lithium, chromium, nickel, copper, mercury and lead.  U.S. and Austrian researchers used an Agilent HPLC and ICP-MS to conduct a 10-year study of arsenic and metals in the urine of Native American populations.

China is concerned about heavy metal contamination as the country rapidly industrializes and urbanizes.  Chinese researchers used an Agilent ICP-MS to analyze the urine of college students in Guangzhou and populations in the Yangtze River Delta.  They discovered that levels of most heavy metals are lower in subjects who exercise regularly and can eliminate these toxins through sweat.

Lastly, JAU’s own laboratory includes several pieces of Agilent equipment, including a GC Q-TOF, LC Q-TOF and MP-AES.  I look forward to seeing the actual publication of JAU’s research.

Thanks to Agilent employee Josephine Yeung for suggesting today’s blog topic!

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