Glossary

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Term Term description
bacteria

A group of microorganisms comprising one of the three domains of living organisms. They are prokaryotic, unicellular, and either free-living or live with plants or animals as commensals or parasites. They are extremely abundant and drive many of the chemical reactions that sustain multicellular life forms (ie digestion, nitrogen fixation, decomposition).

bacterial oxidation

A process used to extract gold from ore. Bacterial oxidation involves contacting refractory sulfide ROM ore or concentrate with a strain of bacterial culture for a suitable treatment period under an optimum operating environment. The bacteria oxidise the sulfide minerals, thus liberating the occluded gold for subsequent recovery via cyanidation.

baptism

A Christian sacrament marked by the ritual use of water to admit the recipient into the Christian community.

barium

A soft, silvery-white metallic element (Ba) that only occurs combined with other elements, especially in barite. Barium compounds are used in x-raying the stomach and intestines and in making fireworks and white pigments.

Basic Water Requirement

The domestic water usage per person per day and includes water for: drinking, human hygiene, sanitation services and food preparation.

 

belief

An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.

beneficiation

The process of refining an ore, or separating the valuable material of an ore from waste material, for future processing or direct use.

benthic

Relating to the bottom of a river or lake and to the organisms that live there.

 

bioaccumulation

The accumulation of toxic substances, such as pesticides, or other organic chemicals, in the fatty tissues of organisms including humans.

biodiesel

A fuel that is similar to diesel fuel and is derived from usually vegetable sources (as soybean oil).

biodigester

An apparatus in which organic waste material is decomposed by microbial action, typically resulting in the production of biogas.

biodigestion

A biological process (also known as anaerobic digestion) that occurs when organic matter is decomposed by bacteria in the absence of oxygen (i.e., anaerobic). As the bacteria decompose the organic matter, biogas is released and captured. This biogas can be burned to produce heat or electricity, and the digested organic material can be used as a fertilizer.

biodiversity

the variety of life on Earth at all its levels, from genes to ecosystems, and the ecological and evolutionary processes that sustain it. Biodiversity includes not only species we consider rare, threatened, or endangered, but every living thing — even organisms we still know little about, such as microbes, fungi, and invertebrates.

biodiversity

The variety of life in the world or in a particular habitat or ecosystem.

bioenergy crops

A plant grown as a low-cost and low-maintenance harvest used to make biofuels, such as bioethanol, or combusted for its energy content to generate electricity or heat. Energy crops are generally categorized as woody or herbaceous plants; many of the latter are grasses.

biogas

A mixture of methane and carbon dioxide produced by bacterial degradation of organic matter and used as a fuel.

biogeochemical cycle

Movement of matter within ore between ecosystems; caused by living organisms, geological forces or chemical reaction.

biological pumping

The sequestering of CO2 in the oceans through photosynthesis performed by algae. When the algae die many of them sink to the ocean floor where they may be preserved for thousands of years, thereby permanently capturing atmospheric CO2 in the ocean floor sediment.

biomass

Total mass or weight of all living organisms in a given population or area.

 

biome

A broad, regional type of ecosystem characterized by distinctive climate and soil conditions and a distinctive kind of biological community adapted to those conditions. Examples include deserts, grasslands and tropical rain forests.

biomes

A broad, regional type of ecosystem characterized by
distinctive climate and soil conditions and a distinctive kind
of biological community adapted to those conditions. Examples include deserts, tropical rain forests, and grasslands.

biopiracy

Commercial exploitation of indigenous knowledge, primarily with medicinal plants.

biosphere

The total of all forms of life (plants, animals, microorganisms etc.) on Earth including all biota in the Earth's crust, waters and atmosphere.

biosphere

The total of all forms of life (plants, animals, microorganisms etc.) on Earth including all biota in the Earth's crust, waters and atmosphere.

biotic

 

Relating to, produced by, or impacted by living organisms, including interactions between organisms in nature.

 

brackish

Partially salty water containing a mixture of seawater and fresh water, with a salinity ranging between 5-17 ppt (parts per thousand). Estuaries where rivers empty into oceans have brackish water.

breeder reactors

A nuclear reactor that produces as well as consumes fissionable material, especially one that produces more fissionable material than it consumes.

Buddhism

A religion founded on the teachings of the Buddha in sixth century BCE India and characterized by meditative practices intended to reduce suffering caused by desire and halt the endless sequence of births and deaths to which one is otherwise subject.

bycatch

The portion of a commercial fishing catch that consists of marine animals caught unintentionally. The bycatch is often discarded unused, and this non-target mortality is detrimental to the overall fishery.

byproduct

Something produced in the process of making something else. For example, when plants produce carbohydrates by photosynthesis, oxygen is released as a by-product.

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