Table of Contents

What is Biotechnology?

The term biotechnology is defined as the technology based on biology. Biotechnology helps in controlling the bio molecular and cellular processes via which products and technologies help in improving our lives and health. We are in the process of using biological processes of microorganisms for more than 6,000 years with the aim to produce useful food products like bread, cheese, curd, etc. and preserve dairy products. 

Scope of Biotechnology

Biotechnology is an applied science and is used in variety of fields. For instance, Genetic Engineering stimulates hope for both therapeutic proteins, biological organisms and several drugs. This is the very important topic of discussion due to advent of gene therapy, cloning, stem cell research and genetically modified food.

Biotechnology also contributes to molecular biology and production of several bio–chemicals required in industries. This field has also given rise to several biotechnological companies and in USA alone, there are more than 225 companies working in the direction of human welfare. These companies target following areas for their research and development –

  • Automated bio–screening for therapeutic agents.

  • Engineering of microorganisms for industrial use.

  • Development of immobilized cell and enzyme systems for chemical process industries.

  • Bio–processing of alkenes to valuable glycols and oxides.

  • Improvement of microorganisms genetically for the production of pharmaceutical products.

  • Improvement production and development of vaccines so as to prevent colibacillosis.  

  • Production of bio–fertilizers and bio–pesticides.

  • Manufacturing ethanol via continuous fermentation.

  • Production of plants those are photosynthetically efficient.

  • Production of transgenic animals and plants.

  • Production of monoclonal antibodies that facilitates organ transplant tissue typing.

Importance of Biotechnology

  • Heal The World – Biotechnology helps in healing the world by harnessing the tool box of nature and using our own genetic makeup. Biotechnology helps in reducing the rate of infectious diseases and saving the lives of millions of children across the globe. Biotechnology helps in changing the odds of serious and life threating conditions that are negatively affecting us. It provides the treatment that helps in minimizing health risks and side effects. Biotechnology helps in developing more precise tools for detection of diseases and combating serious illness in the current situation.  

  • Fuel The World – Biotechnology uses several biological processes like fermentation and harness biocatalysts like yeast, enzymes and microbes in order to become microscopic plants. This field of science is helping in reducing the use and reliance of petrochemicals and streamlining the stages in process of chemical manufacturing. Biotechnology is contributing in boosting the usage of biofuels thereby cutting down the emissions of greenhouse gases by fifty two percent or more.

  • Feed The World – Biotechnology is contributing in resistance of crop insect and enhancing the tolerance of crop herbicide. This field of science is facilitating more and more usage of environmentally sustainable farming practices and helps in feeding the world via generation of higher crops with very few inputs. It is helping in reducing the volumes of agricultural chemicals and producing the crop with higher nutritional profiles. Biotechnology is helping in producing the crop free from allergens and improving crop and food oil content so as to improve the cardiovascular health of the mankind.

Applications of Biotechnology

Biotechnology is applied in four major industrial areas, i.e. crop production, agriculture, health care and environmental uses. For instance, biotechnology directs the use of organisms in order to manufacture the organic products.

Following figure shows the application of biotechnology curriculum by industry:

figure shows the application of biotechnology curriculum by industry
Branches of Biotechnology

There are several branches of biotechnology:

  • Bioinformatics – It is an interdisciplinary field that uses computational techniques to address biological problems. It facilitates rapid organization and analysis of biological data and is often termed as computational biology. Bioinformatics play key role in structural and functional genomics, proteomics and contribute significantly in pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector.

  • Green Biotechnology – This branch of biotechnology is applied to agricultural processes. It includes micro propagation, i.e. selection and domestication of plants. Green biotechnology also focuses on designing of transgenic plants that grow in the presence or absence of come chemicals, i.e. by maintaining specific environment.

  • Blue Biotechnology – It includes application of concepts of biotechnology to explain aquatic and marine applications.

  • Red Biotechnology – It is applied in medical processes like designing of antibiotics and finding solutions to cure genetic diseases, via genetic manipulation.

  • White Biotechnology – This branch of biotechnology is applied to industrial processes and is also called industrial biotechnology. It includes designing of microorganism so as to develop chemicals that facilitates industrial processes. It also includes usage of enzymes as industrial catalysts so as to produce valuable chemicals and destroy any type of polluting/ hazardous chemicals.

Following chart shows the four branches of biotechnology: Red Biotechnology, White Biotechnology, Green Biotechnology and Blue Biotechnology. Each of these branches has its different importance as mentioned:

chart shows the four branches of biotechnology
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