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Secondary technology of Tier N/A
- "Few have mastered the art of keeping a garden in perfect shape, especially since we have started growing titanium."
- Élodie, Remarques
As research in biomaterials progressed, a branch evolved devoted to the production of minerals by living organisms. Naturally occurring examples found on Old Earth include silicates in diatoms, carbonates in invertebrates and apatites in vertebrates. Biometallurgy as practiced on this planet involves the use of microbes (bacteria and archaea) in an aqueous environment to produce metals used in micro-filtration, industrial bioleaching, petrochemical recovery, waste treatment (including nuclear waste) and other processes. Another facet of biometallurgy is the use of micro-organisms to separate rare minerals from ore when using extreme heat or toxic chemicals prove impractical or dangerous (as, for instance, using sulfer-oxiding microbes to collect uranium molecules). Since the process of biomining is automatic once the appropriate microbes have been engineered, it is far less expensive than nano-mining or other methods of separating minerals on the molecular level. Microbial mining operations are now common on this planet.