Biotechnology has application in four major industrial areas, including health care (medical), crop production and agriculture, non food (industrial) uses of crops and other products (e.g. biodegradable plastics, vegetable oil, biofuels), and environmental uses.
Applications of Biotechnology in Medicine
Biotechnology techniques are used in medicine for diagnosis and treating different diseases. It gives opportunities for the people to protect themselves from dangerous diseases.
The field of Biotechnology, genetic engineering has introduced techniques like gene therapy, recombinant DNA technology and polymerase chain reaction which use genes and DNA molecules to diagnose diseases and insert new and healthy genes in the body which replace the damaged cells.
There are some applications of biotechnology which are playing their part in the field of medicine and giving good results:
• Biopharmaceuticals: The drugs are being developed with the use of microorganisms without using any synthetic materials and chemicals. Large molecules of proteins are usually the source of biopharmaceutical drugs. They when targeted in the body attack the hidden mechanisms of the diseases and destroy them without any side effect(s). Now scientists are trying to develop such biopharmaceutical drugs which can be treated against the diseases like hepatitis, cancer and heart diseases.
• Gene therapy: It is used in delicacy and diagnoses of diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s. The apparatus of this technique is that the fit genes are under attack in the body which either obliterate the injured cells or replace them. In some cases, the fit genes make corrections in the genetic information and that is how the genes start performance in the favor of the body.
• Pharmaco-genomics: Pharmaco-genomics is an additional genetically modified method which is used to learn the genetic information of a personality. It analyzes the body’s reply to sure drugs. It is the mixture of pharmaceuticals and genomics. The aspires of this field is to expand such drugs which are inserted in the person according to the genetic information there in the individual.
• Genetic Testing: It is a technique of heredity is used to conclude the genetic diseases in parents, sex and carrier screening. The technique of genetic testing is to use DNA probes which have the sequence alike to the mutated sequences. This technique is also used to recognize the criminals and to test the parenthood of the child.
• It is completed that no field of science can be winning until it uses the techniques of biotechnology. Scientists are operational in the research area to expand new drugs and vaccines and are also judgment cures for the diseases which were not easy to treat in the past decade. Biotechnology is a field of miracle.
Applications of Biotechnology in Agriculture
Biotechnology has played major role in agriculture by altering genes, studying and cloning various crops in order to provide better quality products of foods ultimately improving our lives.
Some of its applications are:
• Vaccines: Oral vaccines have been in the works for much existence as a likely solution to the increase of disease in immature countries, where costs are excessive to extensive vaccination. By planning and injecting antigenic proteins into the Genetically Modified crops from transferable pathogens that will activate an immune will be a great help in dealing with such diseases.
An example of this is a patient-specific vaccine for treating cancer. An anti-lymphoma vaccine has been made using tobacco plants carrying RNA from cloned malignant B-cells. The resultant protein is then used to vaccinate the patient and boost their immune system beside the cancer. Tailor-made vaccines for cancer treatment have shown substantial promise in preliminary studies.
• Antibiotics: Plants are used to create antibiotics for both human and animal use. An expressing antibiotic protein in stock feed, fed straight to animals, is less expensive than traditional antibiotic production.
But, this practice raises many bioethics issues, because the result is widespread, possibly needless use of antibiotics which may encourage expansion of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strain.
• Flowers: There is extra to agricultural biotechnology than just hostility disease or civilizing food quality. There is some simply aesthetic application and an example of this is the use of gene recognition and transfer techniques to improve the color, smell, size and other features of flowers.
Similarly, biotech has been used to make improvement to other common ornamental plants, in particular, shrubs and trees. Some of these changes are similar to those made to crops, such as enhancing cold confrontation of a breed of tropical plant, so it can be grown in northern gardens.
• Biofuels: The agricultural industry plays a big role in the biofuels industry, as long as the feedstock’s for fermentation and cleansing of bio-oil, bio-diesel and bio-ethanol is concerned. Genetic engineering and enzyme optimization technique are being used to develop improved quality feed-stocks for more efficient change and higher BTU outputs of the resulting fuel products.
High-yielding, energy-dense crops can minimize relative costs associated with harvesting and transportation (per unit of energy derived), resulting in higher value fuel products.
• Plant and Animal Reproduction: Enhancing plant and animal behavior by traditional methods like cross-pollination, grafting, and cross-breeding is time-consuming. Biotech advance let for specific changes to be made rapidly, on a molecular level through over-expression or removal of genes, or the introduction of foreign genes.
The last is possible using gene expression control mechanism such as specific gene promoters and transcription factors. Methods like marker-assisted selection improve the efficiency of “directed” animal breeding, without the controversy normally associated with GMOs. Gene cloning methods must also address species differences in the genetic code, the presence or absence of introns and post-translational modifications such as methylation.
• Pesticide Resistant Crops: Not to be mystified with pest-resistance, these plants are broadminded of pesticides, allow farmers to selectively kill nearby weeds with no harming their crop. The most well-known example of this is the Roundup-Ready technology, urbanized by Monsanto.
First introduced in 1998 as GM soybeans, Roundup-Ready plants are unaffected by the herbicide glyph sate, which can be applied in copious quantity to get rid of any other plants in the field. The profit to this is savings in time and costs associated with conservative tillage to reduce weeds, or multiple applications of different types of herbicides to selectively eliminate exact species of weeds. The probable drawbacks include all the controversial arguments against GMOs.
• Nutrient Supplementation: In an attempt to get better human health, mainly in immature countries, scientists are creating hereditarily distorted foods that hold nutrients known to help fight disease or starvation. An example of this is Golden Rice, which contain beta-carotene, the forerunner for Vitamin A manufacture in our bodies. People who eat the rice create more Vitamin A, and necessary nutrient lacking in the diets of the poor in Asian countries.
Three genes, two from daffodils and one from a bacterium, proficient of catalyzing four biochemical reactions, were cloned into rice to make it “golden”. The name comes from the color of the transgenic grain due to over expression of beta-carotene, which gives carrots their orange color.
• A biotic strain confrontation: A lesser quantity of than 20% of the earth is arable land but some crops have been hereditarily altered to make them more liberal of conditions like salinity, cold and drought. The detection of genes in plants in charge for sodium uptake has lead to growth of knock-out plants able to grow in high salt environments. Up- or down-regulation of record is usually the method used to alter drought-tolerance in plants. Corn and rapeseed plants, capable to thrive under lack conditions, are in their fourth year of field trials in California and Colorado, and it is predictable that they’ll reach the marketplace in 4-5 years.
• Manufacturing power Fibers: Spider silk is the strongest fiber known to man, stronger than kevlar (used to make bullet-proof vests), with an advanced tensile power than steel. In August 2000, Canadian company Nexia announces growth of transgenic goats that formed spider silk proteins in their milk. While this solved the trouble of mass-producing the proteins, the agenda was shelve when scientists couldn’t figure out how to spin them into fibers like spiders do.
Application of Biotechnology in Food Processing
• Food processing is a process by which non-palatable and easily perishable raw materials are converted to edible and potable foods and beverages, which have a longer shelf life. The method, by which the microbial organisms and their derivatives are used to increase the edibility and the shelf life of foods, is known as fermentation.
Almost one-third of the diet in the whole world consists of fermented food. Hence the process of fermentation must be carefully monitored especially in rural areas as improper method of fermentation may cause contamination of food thereby, affecting the health of the people. Fermentation is also used in preparing microbial cultures, food additives, preservatives, etc.
• Biotechnology has a major application in the food sector. It helps in improving the edibility, texture, and storage of the food; in preventing the attack of the food, mainly dairy, by the virus like bacteriophage; producing antimicrobial effect to destroy the unwanted microorganisms in food that cause toxicity; to prevent the formation of mycotoxins; and degradation of other toxins and anti-nutritional elements present naturally in food.
• Biotechnology also plays a very important role in protein engineering. In this, favourable enzymes of the microorganisms, which are responsible for the improved fermentation, are produced commercially at a large scale by culturing the microorganisms in tanks, etc.
• Fermented foods have traditionally been known for their better flavour, texture and nutritional value. Their high nutritional content led an interest in development of more high yielding strains for obtaining better quality products. Most fermented foods are produced by solid state fermentation.
Some examples of fermented foods are cheese, idli , dosa, buttermilk etc. Below are the production processes for some of these fermented foods. The basic processes remain the same for these fermented food production but the temperatures and detailed procedures differ from place to place.
Microorganism: Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus (1:1 ratio).
Microoganism: Streptococcus lactis and Streptococcus cremoris, Lecuconostoc cremoris.
Microorganism: Streptococcus lactis, Streptococcus cremoris, Lactobacillus lactis for curd formation Penicillium roquefortii, P. cammebertii for ripening.
Application of Biotechnology in Environment
The use of Biotechnology for solving environmental problems and ecosystem is known as Environmental Biotechnology. It is applied and is used to study the natural environment.
According to the international Society for environmental Biotechnology the environmental Biotechnology is defined as “an environment that helps to develop, efficiently use and regulate the biological systems and prevent the environment from pollution or from contamination of land, air and water”.
There are five major different types of Applications of Environmental Biotechnology. They are as follows:
• This type of Application of environmental Biotechnology gives response to a chemical that helps to measure the level of damage caused or the exposure of the toxic or the pollution effect caused. In other word, Biomarker can also be called as the Biological markers the major use of this applications helps to relate the connection between the oils and its sources.
• The collective purport of Biogas, biomass, fuels, and hydrogen are called the Bioenergy. The use of this application of Environment Biotechnology is in the industrial, domestic and space sectors. As per the recent need it is concluded that the need of clean energy out of these fuels and alternative ways of finding clean energy is the need of the hour. One of the pioneer examples of green energy are the wastes collected from the organic and biomass wastes; these wastes help use to over the pollution issues caused in the environment. The Biomass energy supply has become a prominent importance in every country.
• The process of cleaning up the hazardous substances into non-toxic compounds is called the Bioremediation process. This process is majorly used for any kind of technology clean up that uses the natural microorganisms.
• The changes that take place in the biology of the environment which are changes of the complex compound to simple non-toxic to toxic or the other way round is called the biotransformation process. It is used in the Manufacturing sector where toxic substances are converted to Bi-products.
• The major benefits of environmental biotechnology are it helps to keep our environment safe and clean for the use of the future generations. It helps the organisms and the engineers to find useful ways of getting adapted to the changes in the environment and keep the environment clean and green.
• The benefit of environmental biotechnology helps us to avoid the use of hazardous pollutants and wastes that affect the natural resources and the environment. The development of the society should be done in such a way that it helps to protect our environment and also helps us to develop it.
• The environmental biotechnology has a role to play in the removal of the pollutants. It is becoming an advantage for the scientists and the environmentalists to find ways to convert the waste to re-useable products.
• The applications of environmental biotechnology are becoming a benefiting factor for the environment; the applications includes â€” genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, sequencing and imaging processes are providing large amounts of information and new ways to improvise the environment and protect the environment.