Posts Tagged ‘Biotechnology’
The purpose of this essay is to identify the benefit of biotechnology. Crops are the main source of food and energy for the humans. Loads of vitamins, proteins and minerals can be consumed by humans in the form of vegetables, fruits, beans and rice. With the advancements in biotechnology, the scientists have been able to create genetically modified crops which have greater strength against pests and insects. Moreover, these genetically modified crops can produce with lesser requirement of water and nutrient soil. As the population in the world is growing exponentially now and the requirement for food and water is increasing, scientists claim that genetically modified crops are the only solution for the growing demand of food. It is true that genetically modified crops are the only solution to the increasing number of mouths to feed and the decreasing fertile land. We should also keep in mind that clean water is getting scarce every day and the global economy is finding it difficult to cope up with the increasing demand of food internationally.
Genetically Modified (GM) crops are stronger, resistant to pests and insects. GM crops are not only stronger but also they offer a pleasant way to avoid insects and pests. They do not require pesticides and insecticides. The crops that are not genetically modified require continuous support by insecticides and pesticides to grow properly and be stronger. However, these chemicals are carried down the food chain and harm the humans in the long run. Moreover, the pesticides and insecticides are a cause of great danger to marine life and wild life. The use of pesticides and insecticides can be slashed forever with the help of GM crops. Hence, with the use of GM crops, the chances of destruction of crops by insects and pests are few because they are much stronger than the traditional crops (Hebir 2008).
There has been a misconception about the GM food that it is not healthy and it does not taste the same as the original food. However, the truth is that all the living things in the world do change their genetic structure overtime. This is to ensure that the living beings are in sync with their surroundings. However, the humans have changed the world rapidly and the crops did not get so much time to adapt to the environment. Hence it is difficult for most of the crops to survive the change in global temperature, the disasters and water shortages. However, if the gene structure of these crops is changed, they can be made to consume less water and fertilizers and fight pests on their own. As mentioned by Prakash and Conko (2004), almost 740 million people in the world sleep without having food and close to 40,000 deaths result due to hunger. The hunger stricken countries’ governments need to be more cooperative with World Food Program and other agencies and should start accepting GM food for the benefit of their own people. Only through the consumption of GM food, these casualties can be decreased and hunger can be removed from the world.
Increasing floods, droughts and other natural disasters are causing a loss of millions of tons of crops each year. In 2010 alone, there were huge incidents of floods in Pakistan, India and China (Pearson, 2010). These floods were caused by massive rains and overflowing of rivers. Most of the crops in Pakistan and India were wiped out with the floods. Additionally, 2010 has also witnessed a series of volcanic eruptions. The major ones took place in Indonesia and Iceland (Kaku 2010). These natural disasters render huge acres of land as non-harvestable. No crops can be grown on such land because of the extreme salinity or alkalinity in these lands. Therefore the increasing ratio of infertile land to fertile land in the world is cutting out options for harvesting crops. GM crops can help the humans in such situation as they are much more productive than the traditional crops. GM crops can yield up to double the amount of crop with much lesser requirement of water and fertilizers.
Genetically Modified food also known as the ‘Superfoods’ give the consumers more choice (Szczepanska 2008). They can choose from a large mango and a small mango. Even the shapes and tastes of the fruits and vegetable can be changed. This is especially helpful when transporting large and oval fruits and vegetable such as pumpkin or watermelon. Japan harvested watermelon similar to the shape of a cube which is easier to transport to the international market. Most importantly, GM crops are needed to provide nutrients to the people who suffer from malnutrition. Through playing with the genes of the crops, the farmers can increase the nutrients like calcium, of some vitamins in specific vegetables or fruits. This can be essentially useful to help the people who are not able to afford nutritious food and the children who do not consume nutritional food.
The richer nations do not prefer genetically modified crops but the poor nations like Ghana, Afghanistan and Nepal should invest in biotechnology to feed the population. The poor countries do not have enough sources to feed all the population as most of the people are uneducated and dependent on the government for food supplies. The land that can be used for agriculture is also limited in these countries. According to the World Food Program (2009), millions of people in Ghana are still vulnerable to hunger as the food prices have increased globally and the financial crunch continues. Research in biotechnology is difficult and expensive as well because the government needs to hire scientists who can support the research. Therefore it is not possible for the poor countries to invest as they do not have millions of dollars to spare on research and technology. In this case the foreign firms should invest in these poor countries. The benefits for investing in such countries’ biotechnology program are very clear. The government will waive any taxes for such companies who are willing to invest and these companies will make a sure profit on the sale of these genetically modified crops. It is interest in both, the poor countries and the multinationals as well to invest in such projects.
GM food is not only safe to consume but it is environment friendly as well. With all the natural disasters, the decreasing clean water and limited land resources Currently, GM crops are the only answer to eradicate the hunger in poor countries. There can be no substitute to food as human require it for energy and for consuming minerals and vitamins. It is recommended to the poor countries to help their population and accept GM food from international agencies that are trying to help them.
Conko, G & Prakash, C 2004, ‘Can GM Crops Play a Role in Developing Countries?’, Biotechnology and Developing Countries: The potential and the challenge 13 December, viewed 13 November 2010, PBI Bulletin.
Hebir, B 2008, ‘Fear of “Frankenstein food” is groundless’, Crunch Time for GM Foods 13 February, p. 29, viewed 13 November 2010, Nursing Standards.
Kaku, M 2010, What next from Iceland’s Volcano?, viewed 13 November 2010, <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704671904575194100682717346.html>
Peasron, M 2010, Pakistan floods hit 14 million people as heat parches Russia, US Midwest, viewed 13 November 2010, < http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-10/pakistan-floods-hit-14-million-people-as-heat-parches-russia-u-s-midwest.html>
Szczepanska, S 2008, ‘”Superfoods” offer consumers more choice’, Crunch Time for GM Foods 13 February, p. 29, viewed 13 November 2010, Nursing Standards.
World Food Program 2009, Supporting Ghana’s Fight Against Hunger, viewed 13 November 2010, <http://www.wfp.org/news/news-release/supporting-ghana’s-fight-against-hunger>
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The scientific area of industrial microbiology encompasses the use of microorgasms in the manufacturing of food or industrial products. The microorganisms used in industrial processes may be natural isolates, laboratory selected mutants or genetically engineered organisms. The people who ensure quality control/quality assurance in this area within food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries are bench technicians who have studied Biotechnology Technician – Industrial Microbiology.
Centennial College’s nationally-accredited program in this field provides thorough practical training in industrial microbiology as well as chemistry – analytical, organic and biochemistry. To apply for the two-year program, which results in an Ontario College Diploma, you must first meet some prerequisites. Centennial College expects students applying for the Biotechnology Technician – Industrial Microbiology undertaking to present at minimum an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent or be 19 years of age or older. Also required is completion of the following: Compulsory English 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent and Math 11M or U or 12C or U or skills assessment, or equivalent. Please note that students will be placed in the appropriate English level based on skills assessment results. Lastly, students who test at an advanced level may be accelerated directly into MATH-176 in semester 1 and MATH-186 in semester 2. Those taking MATH-140 will have the opportunity to complete MATH-186 between semesters 2 and 3.
Once you are in the program, you will cover a wide range of topics that include: chemistry and organic chemistry, occupational health and safety, microcomputer applications for technology, microbiology and its techniques, food microbiology, mathematics and statistics and many more. Many of these courses include hands-on learning in a laboratory setting. During these lab sessions, laboratory techniques that include appropriate safety procedures are extensively highlighted. Eight up-to-date laboratories and modern wireless lecture rooms are used for facilitating the program. A special feature of Centennial College’s Biotechnology Technician – Industrial Microbiology is a project approach, with independently designed microbiology projects that enhance your problem-solving and research skills. As an added feature, training is provided in Occupational Health and Safety, WHMIS, GMP and HACCP.
By the time you graduate from Biotechnology College, you will have picked up many employable skills. The first major skill set is being able to isolate, enumerate and identify microorganisms from many types of samples (water, soil, air, your body, and food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products). This is a huge part of the job, as is preparing specimens for staining and becoming an expert light-microscopist, which you will also learn. These tasks goes hand-in-hands with proficiently handling materials and instruments such as pH and BOD meters, Gas Chromatographs, spectrophotometers (regular/IR/UV), HPLC’s etc. Lastly, you’ll have the knowledge to prepare microbiological media and reagents; culture pathogenic microbes; and design and perform your own microbiology experiments.
This Biotechnology Technician – Industrial Microbiology program is also a nationally accredited program by the Canadian Council of Technicians and Technologists, which has deemed it as having met the national technology accreditation requirements. Lastly, the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT ) recognizes the Biotechnology Technician – Industrial Microbiology program as meeting all the academic requirements for certification in the Technician category.
Dr. Norman Borlaug, Nobel Laureate and leader of the Green Revolution, shares his views on the benefits and safety of genetically modified crops to increase food production while preserving the environment. www.monsanto.com
Video Rating: 4 / 5
There is an increase in the demand of fruits and vegetables as the population is increasing exponentially. In order to produce 360 mt of horticultural produce from current level of 150 mt by 2020, careful planning and application of newer tools of genetic engineering and biotechnology is required. Conventional plant breeding techniques have made considerable progress in development of improved varieties but it is not able to keep the pace with increasing demand for vegetables and fruits. Thus, there is a need to integrate biotechnology and genetic engineering to the conventional programs to speed up the crop and yield improvement of the horticultural crops by providing new varieties of plants and planting material, more efficient and selective pesticides and improved fertilizers. Developed countries have already adopted this structure of research and have already established many genetically modified crops in the market. Modern biotechnology encompasses broad areas of biology from utilization of living organisms or substances from those organisms to make or modify a product, to improve plant or animal or to develop micro-organisms for specific use. The major areas of biotechnology which can be adopted for crop and yield improvement of horticultural crops are:
Molecular diagnostics and
Development of Beneficial microbes
I. Tissue Culture:
One of the widest applications of biotechnology has been in the area of tissue culture and micro propagation in particular. It is one of the most widely used techniques for rapid asexual in vitro propagation. This technique is economical in time and space affords greater output and provides disease free and elite propagules. It also facilitates safer and quarantined movements of germplasm across nations. When the traditional methods are unable to meet the demand for propagation material this technique can produce millions of uniformly flowering and yielding plants. Micropropagation of almost all the fruit crops and vegetables is possible now. Production of virus free planting material using meristem culture has been made possible in many horticultural crops. Embryo rescue is another area where plant breeders are able to rescue their crosses which would otherwise abort. Culture of excised embryos of suitable stages of development can circumvent problems encountered in post zygotic incompatibility. This technique is highly significant in intractable and long duration horticultural species. Many of the dry land legume species have been successfully regenerated from cotyledons, hypocotyls, leaf, ovary, protoplast, petiole root, anthers, etc., Haploid generation through anther/pollen culture is recognized as another important area in crop improvement. It is useful in being rapid and economically feasible. Complete homozygosity of the offspring helps in phenotype selection for quantitative characters and particularly for qualitatively inherited characters making breeding much easier successful isolation, culture and fusion of plant protoplasts has been very useful in transferring cytoplasmic male sterility for obtaining hybrid vigour through mitochondrial recombination and for genetic transformation in plants.
In vitro germplasm conservation is of great significance in providing solutions and alternative approaches to overcoming constrains in management of genetic resources. In crops which are propagated vegetatively and which produce recalcitrant seeds and perennial crops which are highly heterozygous and seed storage is not suitable. In such crops especially, in vitro storage is of great practical importance. These techniques have successfully been demonstrated in a number of horticultural crops and there are now various germplasm collection centers. In vitro germplasm also assures the exchange of pest and disease free material and helps in better quarantine.
Plant breeders are continually searching for new genetic variability that is potentially useful in cultivar improvement. A portion of plants regenerated by tissue culture often exhibits phenotypic variation atypical of the original phenotype. Such variation, termed somaclonal variation may be heritable i.e. genetically stable and passed on to the next generation. Alternatively, the variation may be epigenetic and disappear following sexual reproduction. These heritable variations are potentially useful to plant breeders.
II. Genetic Engineering of Plants
Genetic engineering primarily involves the manipulation of genetic material (DNA) to achieve the desired goal in a pre-determined way. The other terms in common use to describe genetic engineering are as follows:
Recombinant DNA technology
Gene cloning (molecular cloning)
Genetic Engineering involves three major steps:
Identification and isolation of suitable genes for transfer
Delivery system to insert desired gene into recipient cells.
Expression of new genetic information in recipient cells.
Many molecular biology tools are used to carry out the genetic manipulation experiments. These DNA modifying molecules are as follows:
Restriction endonucleases(RE)- The DNA cutting enzymes, also called as molecular scissors. There are three major classes of REs, class I, II and class III, out of which class II REs are generally used in recombinant DNA technology.
DNA ligases- The DNA joining enzymes (T4-DNA ligase)
Linkers and adaptors- they are chemically synthesized, short, double stranded DNA molecules. Linkers possess RE cleavage sites. Adaptors contain cohesive or sticky ends.
Enzymes modifying the ends of DNA: (a) Alkaline phosphatase (That removes the terminal phosphate group) (b) Polynucleotide kinase (Involved in the addition of phosphate group (c) Terminal transferase (repeatedly adds nucleotides to any available 3′- terminal ends.
Polymerases- enzymes that catalyze the synthesis of nucleic acid molecules. These are of three types:
DNA dependent DNA polymerase
RNA dependent DNA polymerase
DNA dependent RNA polymerase
Plant genetic engineering basically deals with the transfer of desired gene (resulting in desired trait) from any source to a plant. The term transgene is used to represent the transferred gene, and the genetic transformation in plants is broadly referred as transgenic plants. Transgenic plants are developed by integrating the application of recombinant DNA technology, gene transfer methods and tissue culture technique. The ultimate goal of transgenics is to improve the crops, with the desired traits. Some of the desired traits are as follows:
Resistance to biotic stresses i.e. resistance to diseases caused by insects, viruses, fungi and bacteria.
Resistance to abiotic stresses- herbicides, temperature (heat, chilling, freezing), drought, salinity, ozone, intense light.
Improvement of crop yield, and quality e.g. storage, longer shelf life of fruits and flowers.
Transgenic plants with improved nutrition
Transgenic plants as bioreactors for manufacture of commercial and therapeutic products e.g. proteins, vaccines and biodegradable plastics.
Transgenic plants have covered about 52.6 m hectares in the Industrial and developing countries. Genes for the following traits have been introduced to the crop plants.
Herbicide tolerance: Herbicides are chemicals used by the farmers to get the herbs removed, but it also deleteriously effects the crop plants. A transgenic plant resistant to herbicides allowing the farmers to spray crops so as to kill only weeds but not their crop will be of great help in yield improvement programs. Herbicide tolerant plants have been developed in tomato, tobacco, potato, soybean, cotton, corn, oilseed rape, petunia, etc. Glyphosate is one of the most potent broad spectrum environment friendly herbicide known, it is marketed under the trade name Round up. Glyphosate kills plants by blocking the action of an essential enzyme called EPSPS (5-enolpyruvyl shikimate-3-phosphate synthase) in the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids, tyrosine, phenylalanine and tryptophan. Amino acids are building blocks of protein. Transgenic plants resistant to Glyphosate have been developed by transferring gene of EPSPS to produce this enzyme thus inhibiting the effect of Glyphosate. A number of detoxifying enzymes have been identified in plants as well as in microbes. Some of these include glutahthione-s-transferase or GST in maize and other plants which detoxifies the herbicide bromoxynil and phosphinothricin acetyl transferase (PAT) which detoxifies the herbiside PPT (L-phosphinothricine). Transgenic plants using bxn gene from Klebsiella and bar gene from Strepotomyces have been obtained in potato, oilseed, sugarbeet, soybean, cotton and corn and are found to be herbicide resistance. These transgenic plants reduce the use of weeding labour, farmers cost and increase yield.
Engineering pathogen resistance: Viruses are the major pests of crop plants which cause considerable yield losses. Many strategies have been applied to control virus infection using coat protein and satellite RNA. Viruses are submicroscopic packets of nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) enclosed in a protein coat and can multiply within a host cell. Use of viral coat protein as a transgene for producing virus resistant plants is one of the most spectacular successes achieved in plant biotechnology. Coat protein gene from tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) classified as a positive strand RNA virus has been transferred to tobacco, making it nearly resistant against TMV. Using gene for nucelocapsid protein resistance has been introduced in crops like tomato, tobacco, lettuce, groundnut, pepper and in ornaments like Impatiens, Ageratum and Crysnathemum against tomato spotted wilt virus. Use of satellite RNA (SATRNA) makes many transgenic plants resistant to Cucumber Mosaic Virus (CMV). Transgenic resistant plants have also been developed against alfalfa mosaic virus, potato virus X, Rice tungro virus, tobacco rattle virus and Papaya ring spot virus.
During the last decade many resistance genes whose products are involved in recognizing the invading pathogens have been identified and cloned. A number of signaling pathways which follow the pathogen infection have been understood. Many of the antifungal compounds synthesized by plants which combat fungal infections have been identified. The major strategies for developing fungal resistance have been production of transgenic plants with antifungal molecules like proteins and toxins, and generation of hypersensitive response through R genes or by manipulating genes of SAR pathway. A chitinase gene from bean plants in tobacco and Brassica napus showed enhanced resistance to Rhizoctonia solani. In another case chitinase gene obtained from Serratia marcescens (soil bacterium) is introduced in tobacco making it resistant to Alternaria longipes which causes brown spot diseases. Acetyl transferase gene is introduced in tobacco making it resistant to Pseudomonas syringea, a causal agent of wild fire disease.
Stress resistance: A number of genes responsible for providing resistance against stresses such as to water stress heat, cold, salt, heavy metals and phytohormones have been identified. Studies are also being conducted on metabolites like proteins and betains that have been implicated in stress tolerance. Resistance against chilling was introduced into tobacco plants by introducing gene for glycerol-1-phosphate acyl-transferase enzyme from Arabidopsis. Many plants respond to drought stress by synthesizing a group of sugar derivatives called polyols (Mannitol, Sorbitol and Sion). Plants that have more polyols are more resistant to stress. Using a bacterial gene capable of synthesizing mannitols it is possible to raise the level of mannitol very high making plants resistant to drought.
Fruit Quality: Tomatoes which ripen slowly are helpful in transportation process. Transgenic tomato with reduced pectin methyl esterase activity and increased level of soluble solids and higher pH increases processing quality. Tomatoes exhibiting delayed ripening have been produced either by using antisense RNA against enzymes involved in ethylene production (eg. ACC synthase) or by using gene for deaminase which degrades l-aminocyclopropane-l-carboxylic acid (ACC) an immediate precursor of ethylene. This increases the shelf life of tomatoes. These tomatoes can also stay on the plant long giving more time for accumulation of sugars and acids for improving flavour. It is produced at commercial level in European and American countries. Tomatoes with elevated sucrose and reduced starch could also be produced using sucrose phosphate synthase gene. Starch content in potatoes has been increased by 20-40% by using a bacterial ADP glucose pyrophosphorylase gene.
Pest resistance: The insecticidal beta endotoxin gene (bt gene) has been isolated from Bacillus thuringiensis the commonly occurring soil bacteria and transferred to number of plants like cotton, tobacco, tomato, soybean, potato, etc. to make them resistant to attack by insects. These genes produce insecticidal crystal proteins which affect a range of lepidopteran, coleopteran, dipteran insects. These crystals upon ingestion by the insect larva are solubilised in the highly alkaline midgut into individual protoxins which vary from 133 to 136 kDa in molecular weight. Insecticidal crystal protein produced during vegetative growth of the cells (VIP)are also found to be highly effective against insect control. Bt resistant plants are already in the market.
Male sterility and Fertility restoration: This is helpful in hybrid seed production. Transgenic plants with male sterility and fertility restoration genes have become available in Brassica napus. It facilitates production of hybrid seed without manual emasculation and controlled pollination as often done in maize. In 1990, Mariani and others from Belgium have successfully used a gene construct having another specific promoter from TA29 gene of tobacco and bacterial coding sequence for a ribonuclease gene from Bacillus Sp. (barnase gene) for production of transgenic plants in Brassica napus. Here the translated gene prevented normal pollen development leading to male sterilily.
III. Molecular Diagnostics
Nucleic acid probes:- It is now possible to detect the plant diseases even before onset of symptoms by using cDNA probes. Probes are nucleic acid sequences of pathogen causing organisms labeled with certain markers. cDNA probes corresponding to specific regions of the pathogens can be generated using standard recombinant DNA technique.
Monoclonal antibodies (McAb): Immunological techniques are extremely useful for the rapid and accurate routine detection of plant pathogens and ultimately the diagnosis of plant disease and their relatedness. The introduction of hybridoma technology has provided methods for the production of homologous and biochemically defined immunological reagents of identical specificity which are produced by a single cell line and are directed against a unique epitope of the immunizing antigen. The great potential of McAbs in phytopathological diagnostics is essential because of homogeneous antibody preparations with defined activity and specificity can be produced in large quantities over long periods. Even though hybridoma technology is a laborious and expensive enterprise compared to standard immunization procedures it is going to be widely used for large scale diagnosis.
IV. Molecular Markers
The possibilities of using gene tags of molecular makers for selecting agronomic traits has made the job of breeder easier. It has been possible to score the plants for different traits or disease resistance at the seedling stage itself. The use of RFLP (Restriction Fragment Length polymorphism), RAPD (Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA) , AFLP (Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism) and isozyme markers in plant breeding are numerous. RFLPs are advantageous over morphological and isozyme markers primarily because their number is limited only by genome size and they are not environmentally or developmentally influenced. Molecular maps now exist for a number of crop plants including corn, tomato, potato, rice, lettuce, wheat, Brassica species and barley. RFLPs have wide ranging applications including cultivar finger printing, identification of quantitative trait loci, analysis of genome organization, germplasm introgression and map-based cloning. AFLP is becoming the tool of choice for finger-printing because of its reproducibility compared to RAPD. Microsatellile or simple sequence repeats (SSRs) markers have also become the choice for a wide range of applications in genotyping, genome mapping and genome analysis.
V. Use of agriculturally important micro-organisms
Indiscriminate and injudicious use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for the crop production and control of insect-pests has resulted in pollution of the environment deterioration of soil health and development of resistance by many insects and residue problems. Hence there is a great concern world wide to use safer biofertilisers and biopesticdies in the integrated nutrient management and pest management systems.
Biofertilizers are micro-organisms which fix atmospheric nitrogen or solubilise fixed phosphorus in the soil and make more nutrients available to the plant. Some of the organisms providing major inputs are the biological nitrogen fixing organisms like Rhizobium, Azotobacter, Azospirillum and phosphate solubilising organisms like Bacillus polymyxa, B. magaterium, Pseudomonas striata and certain fungal species of Aspergillus and Penicillium.
The benefits of using micro-organisms as fertilizers are many fold. They are less expensive, nontoxic to plants, do not pollute the ground water nor render the soil acidic and unfit for growth of plants. Rhizobium forms nodules on the roots of leguminous plants and help in fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere to ammonium irons which get converted to amino acids in the plant system. Inoculation with this bacteria helps in reducing addition of nitrogenous fertilizers to the soil. Azospirillum is also found colonizing inter cellular spaces inside the root system. These bacteria also contribute substantially to the nitrogen requirement of the plant.
Phosphate solubilising bacteria are another group of micro-organisms which solubilise the insoluble phosphorus in the soil and make them readily available to the crop.
Mycorrhiza is the symbiotic association of the roots of crop plants with non-pathogenic fungus. They provide nutrients absorbed from deeper layers of soil to the plants. They help the plants in better plant establishment and growth when inoculated. Many fruit crops like papaya, mango, banana, citrus, pomegranate are found to be dependent on this association and are greatly benefited by its inoculation in procuring higher phosphate and other nutrient from the soil. These mycorrhizal associations help the plants in overcoming pathogen attack also. They improve soil characters too.
Genetic modification of microbes: By using DNA recombination technique it has been possible to genetically manipulate different strains of these bacteria suitable to different environmental conditions and to develop strains with traits with capacity for better competitiveness and nodulation.
Biopesticides are biological organisms which can be formulated as that of the pesticides for the control of pests. Biopesticides are gaining importance in agriculture, horticulture and in public heatlh programmes for the control of pests. The advantages of using biopesticides are many. They are specific to target pests and do not harm the non target organisms such as bees, butterflies and are safe to humans and live stocks, they do not disturb the food-chain nor leave behind toxic residues.
Some of the microbial pesticides used to control insect pests are Bacillus thuringiensis species to control various insect pests. Insecticidal property of these bacteria are due to crystals of insecticidal proteins produced during sporulation. These proteins are stomach poisons and are highly insect specific. Bt toxins could kill plant parasitic nematode too. Number of baculoviruses (BV) nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV) is being developed as microbial pesticides both nationally and internationally, A few examples of these are Heliothis, Spodoptera, Plusia, Agrotis, Trichoplusia, etc.
Biocontrol agents: These are other microbes which are antagonistic to several pathogenic fungus and are good substitutes to fungicides or insecticide. These are Bacillus sps. Pseudomonas fluorescens, Trichoderma, Verticillium sp., Streptromyces sps. etc. These organisms are commercially available.
The extent of commercial application of plant biotechnology is the important mark for measuring the vitality of this newly emerging technology. Small and marginal farmers can adopt less expensive technologies like the use of biofertilizers and biopesticides while capital intensive technologies can be adopted by rich farmers
A biotechnology career is based on food science, agriculture, medicine and biology. A number of institutions in the country offer a degree in cell and tissue technologies and cover topics such as genetic engineering. Biotechnology is supported by a number of additional branches of study and these include genetics, environmental science, agriculture, computing and environmental science. Professionals in biotechnology jobs are engaged in applying the latest molecular techniques in a bid to solve current environmental and industrial problems.
It has been observed that as many as 85% of biotechnology graduates are absorbed in full time positions within six months of their undergraduate course completion. As many as 90% of them have managed to bag jobs directly connected to their field of study. These biotech jobs are spread across a wide variety of fields including the health sector, technical positions, clinical jobs, product development, hospital laboratory jobs and other areas of scientific research.
A number of associated career fields can be explored as well. Individuals may further pursue their academic career and then go on to become a research scientist thus conducting experiments in diverse fields. The incumbent may also pursue a career in microbiology or join an educational institution in the capacity of a laboratory technician. An incumbent may also choose to opt for a career as a quality manager, engaged in the assessment of services and products that are offered by a commercial company. You can also join a firm in the capacity of a technical sales engineer involved in marketing the product and the subsequent sale of the technical equipments to consumers.
Several globally established pharmaceutical brands extend graduate programmes, which are initiated immediately after the conclusion of the academic course. They also provide a good remuneration package. This also means that you can continue with your academic pursuits in your chosen area of expertise.
The life sciences market in the UK is undoubtedly one the fastest growing and strongest markets around the globe. The pharmaceutical, biotechnology and healthcare industry in the country has a stupendous record in drug discovery, increasing governmental support for research and development, a strong academic base and tax credits.
Apart from conducting research and development in the field, people are also absorbed in quality control and production jobs. People who have the knowledge of industrial-manufacturing techniques and technology are absorbed by biotechnological firms. The incumbent is responsible for ensuring that the finished product complies with all the quality standards. They are generally part of a quality control section.
Biotechnology sector also throws up job opportunities for management professionals. They need to appoint managers who can oversee the diverse functions of the company such as Quality Control, Research and Development and Production. Professionals are also employed in sectors such as sales and marketing. They are in charge of advertising and promoting the products and thus boost up sales. They are also responsible for locating new markets and interacting with clients on a regular basis. They are, in other words, the face of the pharmaceutical company.
Biotechnology is a science that utilises living organisms to produce therapeutic drugs, diagnostics products and many other other products that greatly benefit society. Analysts have predicted that biotechnology will become one of the most important applied sciences in the 21st century
Biotechnology has many applications in health. Many therapeutics proteins are too complex to synthesize and so need to be manufactured in living cells such as bacterial, yeast and mammalian cells. These cells are often genetically manipulated to produce useful medicines.
Biotechnology has led to the development of numerous antibiotics for the treatment of different infections and also to the development of a number of vaccines for the prevention of many diseases.
Another important health application is in genetic testing. An individuals DNA may be screened to determine the presence of any mutated sequences that could indicate a risk of certain cancers or the on-set of certain adult diseases. Genetic testing is widely used in pre-natal screening and is also used in the forensic science industry.
Biotechnology is used in agriculture to improve crop yield and to make crops more robust to environmental stress making them resistant to insects that damage and lower crop yield. Crops are engineered to make them naturally resistant to environmental pests which in turn benefits the environment with the use of less pesticides and herbicides.
Biotechnology can also improve the nutritional value of food and improve it’s appearance and taste.
Biotechnology uses microorganisms to clear up many contaminated environments such as oil spillages at sea and is widely used in the treatment of sewage. The microorganisms metabolize contaminants to produce harmless by-products.
An example is the designing of an organism to produce useful chemicals. Another example is the use of enzymes in industrial applications i.e. biological washing powders or to produce valuable chemicals or destroy hazardous/polluting chemicals.
Biotechnology is important in the production of biodegradable plastics and in the production of bio-fuels.
The biotechnology sector provides a great variety of career opportunities to qualified scientists. Most graduates enter the sector after completing a relevant life science degree.