Iran announced it has made significant steps in mining uranium using biotechnological methods, according to a report on Iranian television.
The news is likely to increase pressure on Iran regarding its controversial nuclear program.
Uranium is an element used in the nuclear process to create nuclear energy. It is found naturally but the material is subjected to a very expensive and complicated process until it can potentially be used in a nuclear reactor.
The report said researchers from the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency have, over the past six years, mastered a technique in which bacteria will purify the element before it is extracted.
The new technology will significantly cut the costs of uranium mining, will increase the yield and will also be more friendly to the environment, the report said.
Iran says its nuclear program is for civilian purposes but Washington maintains the program has a military aim. Tehran has been engaged in rigorous talks with European negotiators, who are trying to persuade Iran to halt its nuclear program.
Iran recently renewed uranium conversion, angering European negotiators.
Analysts say this recent announcement is a flexing of muscles to show that Iran is continuing to make strides in nuclear technology despite international pressure.