Biotechnology -an overview, types, uses, and applications
The use of biology to solve problems and make useful products is called biotechnology. Biotechnology is also known as biotech is not a new disciple but it is advancing day by day and has more and more applications in our daily life. Its uses expand from pharmaceutical to food production and the treatment of polluting waste.
Depending on the technology, applications, and tools involved biotechnology can cross with molecular biology, bioengineering, bionics, nanotechnology, and genetic engineering.
In this article, we will explore its types, applications, advantages, disadvantages, and determine how far this biotechnology might go in the future.
What is biotechnology?
Biotechnology is also known as biotech uses living cells to develop and manipulate products for a particular purpose such as genetically modified food. Biotechnology is thus linked to genetic engineering and emerged as a field in its own right at the beginning of the 20th century in the food industry that was later joined by other sectors such as medicine and the environment.
Now modern biotechnology has emerged with five branches such as environmental, human, industrial, plant, and animal. Biotechnology helps us fight hunger and disease by producing more safe, clean, and efficient products. It is reducing the ecological footprint and saves energy.
Biotechnology just like other technologies has some minuses. Certain concerns about this technology have led to efforts by some groups to approve prescription restricting and banning certain processes or programs like human cloning and embryonic stem-cell research. There are also some concerns like if the biotechnological processes are used by groups with menial purpose then the end result could be biological warfare.
Types of biotechnology
Based on use and application, biotechnology can be broken down into furthermore sub-disciple. These sub-disciples are basically known as the types of biotechnology that we are going to discuss below.
- Red biotechnology: According to the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), this branch of biotechnology is related to health and is responsible for the development of more than 250 vaccines and medications. It is mainly responsible for producing antibiotics, regenerative therapies, and the production of artificial organs.
- Green biotechnology: this green biotechnology is used by more than 13 million farmers worldwide. This technology is used to fight against pests in the crops and for nourishment and strengthen crops against microorganisms. It applies in lots of agriculture processes such as disease-resistance animals and environmentally-friendly development.
- White biotechnology: this biotechnology branch works to improve the industrial manufacturing processes. This Biotechnology helps to become more sustainable and efficient by the development of biofuels, chemicals, and other technologies.
- Yellow biotechnology: this biotechnology branch refers to the focus on the food production process. This brand implements research to reduce the levels of saturated fats in cooking oil. The most popular application of this biotechnology being the fermentation of cheese and alcohol.
- Blue biotechnology: this branch, marine resources to obtain cosmetics, aquaculture, and healthcare products. Additionally, it is the branch that is most widely used to obtain biofuels from particular microalgae.
- Grey biotechnology: the main purpose of this branch is the restoration and conservation of contaminated natural ecosystems through a certain type of bioremediation process.
- Gold biotechnology: this biotechnology is also known as bioinformatics. It is responsible for obtaining, restoring, analyzing, and separating the biological information. This technology is a cross between biological processes and computing that plays a vital role in biological data especially related to DNA and amino acid arrangement.
Uses and applications of biotechnology
The innovations of biotechnology are a part of our lives and we can see them in many places such as pharmacies and supermarkets. Biotechnology has become the most lead in the fight against the covid-19 in recent months.
Biotechnology is playing a crucial role in the future of society in preventing and containing potential microorganisms. As it is the only application that we are discussing we are going to more applications related to biotechnology.
- Medicine: Some achievements of biotechnology associated with genetic engineering are the development of insulin, molecular identity, and diagnostics, the growth hormone, gene therapies, and some certain vaccines such as hepatitis B.
- Industry: the overthrow of new smart materials with biotechnology has only just begun. We are eagerly waiting to have self-healing concrete, smart plants that will change their colors when they detect any explosive, footwear made, clothing with synthetic spider web.
- Food: A humble thanks to the biotechnology products such as WEMA that have created certain pests that may prove crucial in fighting against hunger and a type of crop resistance to droughts.
- Environment: the bioremediation processes of biotechnology is very useful for ecological recovery. The contaminated ecosystems can be restored with the catabolic properties of microorganisms, plants, fungi, and enzymes.
Advantages and disadvantages of biotechnology
There are lots of benefits of biotechnology that are tangible but at the same time, there are some warnings because of its adverse effects on the health, environment, and ethics. First, we will discuss the advantages of biotechnology and then its disadvantages.
- BIotechnology reduces the emission of CO2 by 52%. It optimizes the perfect use of water and also reduces the waste of chemical processes. Thanks to the techniques of biotechnology like recombinant DNA.
- Biotechnology improves medical diagnosis. It also reduces the infection rates and minimizes the side effect of medication. The latest innovations of biotechnology favor progress in many developing countries.
- Biotechnology favors sustainable and healthy agriculture. It provides nutrition, toxin, and allergy-free food. It also limited the use of pesticides and chemicals.
Disadvantages and risks:
- The multiplications of laboratory foods cloud end crop diversity. Biotechnology is also affecting the balance of ecosystems.
- The disadvantages also include unforeseen allergies modified bacteria and the poisoning of living organisms escaping from the laboratory.
- It has bad impacts on agriculture and all its aspects.
- Biotechnology can be very destructive because it also turned into a weapon that could cause massive destruction.
- It also has many risks on nature.