Biotechnology as a science and as a fast-developing technology has demonstrated its impact on the different facets of everyday human life – be it pharmaceuticals, public health, agriculture and food, information technology, bioenergetics, and more.
Biotechnology is deemed to be a key technology today and for the science of the future. There is a great deal in Biotechnology scope, as it is capable of ensuring dramatic reduction in malnutrition and hunger, ensuring food security, and reduction in rural poverty, specifically in developing countries.
Before getting to know the different fields of Biotechnology, let us take a look at the basic information on Biotechnology.
What Is Biotechnology?
Simply put, Biotechnology is the commercialization of cell and molecular biology. It can be defined as the controlled use of biological agents, such as cells or cellular components, for benefits. In this technology, living entities, cells, or cellular components are used to produce compounds or specific genetic improvements of living entities for beneficial reasons.
Main Streams in Biotechnology
On the basis of application, Biotechnology has the following branches:
- Medical Biotechnology
- Animal Biotechnology
- Environmental Biotechnology
- Industrial Biotechnology
- Plant Biotechnology
This field of Biotechnology implies the application of Biotechnology in the stream of the healthcare domain. It has a role in developing diagnostic kits, drugs, vaccines, or medical machinery. Vaccines and antibiotics are examples of medical Biotechnology. Its applications can be seen in the streams of pharmaceuticals, research, and development, hospitals, manufacturing sectors of Biotechnology, etc.
This stream of Biotechnology deals with the development of transgenic animals to increase the production of milk and meat that is resistant to different diseases. It also involves in vitro fertilization of the egg and its transfer to the womb of the female animal for complete development.
It concerns the detoxification of industrial and waste effluents, sewage water treatment, and regulation of plant diseases and insects using biological agents like fungi, bacteria, etc. The aim of this stream is the restoration of balance between ecology, nature, and human interests. Issues such as the accumulation of heavy metals in natural sources of soil and water, oil spills, etc., are now being addressed using biotech processes.
It involves the commercial production of different types of beneficial organic substances such as citric acid, acetic acid, glycerine, acetone, etc., and also includes antibiotics such as mitomycin, streptomycin, penicillin, etc. This is possible due to the use of microbes such as bacteria and fungi.
Plants occupy the base in a food chain; they are the primary producers and vital sources of raw materials and food. Humans depend on plant sources for different purposes. Especially in the field of agriculture, Biotechnology has shown immense applications. Some of the concerns, such as deterioration in crop quality, low crop yield, weeds, loss of soil fertility, and biotic and abiotic stress, are being addressed. Through genetic engineering, genetically modified crops were developed, which helped to develop abiotic and biotic stress-resistant crops, and also, the concern of improved crop quality could be tackled.
This was a brief note on Biotechnology and its different streams. The next suggested topic to explore could be vitamin table. Subscribe to BYJU’S YouTube channel for detailed concept explanations on related topics and more.