Following four years of research at Junagadh Agricultural University, scientists in India's western state of Gujarat have extracted gold from the urine of a rare indigenous breed of cattle.
"We have heard about presence of gold in cow urine from our ancient scriptures and its medicinal properties," Dr. B.A. Golakia, head of JAU's biotechnology department, told The Times of India. "Since there was no detailed scientific analysis to prove this, we decided to undertake a research on cow urine."
Analysis of samples from 400 gir cows turned up traces of ionized gold salts in the urine of young calves, mature cows and older cows past their milk-giving days. Scientists were able to isolate, precipitate, extract, solidify and melt between 3 to 10 milligrams of gold per liter (1.05 quarts) of urine. More than 5,000 separate chemical compounds were identified in the urine, and 388 of which have medicinal properties, according to the research.
Which beasts gave the best filthy lucre? The amount of gold varied depending on the age of the cow and the amount of type of feed it consumed. "Morning cow samples have better gold content than evening. Calves have maximum content of gold," Golakia added.
Gir — also spelled gyr — cows have a distinctive hump, domed head, pendulous ears and horns that grow downwards and back. They're native to Gujarat, where they were domesticated, and recently used to create the American Brahman cattle breed.