The curiosity of humans led to innovations that gave answers to some of our domestic and even industrial needs. We want to know why things are how they are and why they are like that. We have the insatiable thirst for answers to questions in our conscious and sub-conscious minds.
If the homosapien specie isn’t curious, we would probably be living in caves and not the high-brow urban areas where street lights, HD TV screens are coming to suffice.
It is hence in the human nature to know about the cosmos, how the universe came about, how things are, how they came into existence and more endless questions.
Scientists and technologists keep working day and night to unlock some of the world puzzles and one of the baffling questions that arouses their curiosity is ‘what life is’ and this may have been a hard nut to crack at a point. But then, the knowledge and continuous study of biotechnology may provide answers to one of the persistent and recurring dilemmas of humanity.
What is biotechnology and how important is it to the average human life?
We go with the meaning of the term first.
The term ‘biotechnology’ was coined by a Hungarian agricultural engineer, Karl Ereky in 1919 where he used the term to describe products produced from raw materials with the aid of living organisms. #biotech Click To Tweet
Biotechnology is a unit of technology that uses biological systems like a living organism or its associated parts to develop and create different products.
Biotechnology is simpler terms is thus the broad area of biology that deals with the use of living systems and living organisms to develop and make products for use.
From the late 20th and 21st centuries, Biotechnology that was just the simple use of living organisms and things to develop things has expanded and continued to expand to various science disciplines like molecular biology, biochemistry genomics, recombinant gene techniques, applied immunology, and development of pharmaceutical therapies and diagnostic tests.
It goes to say that new technologies in the biotechnology field are being developed annually within areas that cover medicine (new therapies and medicine development), agriculture (building genetically modified plants, biofuels, and biological treatment) or industrial biotechnology (chemical production, paper, textiles and food).
While the world talks about new phones, PCs, chips, Electric cars and the likes, biotech appears to be underrated in all these as the global focus are on the aforementioned, leaving the field of biotech not really getting the attention it deserves.
But we have to know the value of something to advance its case.
While the world talks about new phones, PCs, chips, Electric cars and the likes, biotech appears to be underrated in all these as the global focus are on the aforementioned, leaving the field of biotech not really getting the attention it… Click To Tweet
What are the immediate uses of biotechnology?
The most prominent approach used in biotech is genetic engineering that allows geneticists to tailor an organism’s DNA at will. But biotechnology applications are vast but the numerous and most known application is in medicine and agriculture.
For instance, the application of biotech is used in merging biological information with computer technology known as bioinformatics. The application can also be use to explore the microscopic equipment that goes into the human body (nanotechnology). What about the possible replacement of dead and defective cells and tissues using the application of stem cell research and cloning techniques?
These technologies are used by many laboratories to analyse molecule use, the synthetisation of molecular biology to chemical pathways, tissues, and organs.
Apart from being used in health care, biotech has helped in industrial processes, with the discovery and production of biological enzymes that spark chemical reactions with catalysts.
Biotech application has been used to protect crops from life threatening diseases, with better disease control, making farming more profitable with more quality of crops, leading to a very significant increase in crop production (quality and quantity).
It is most likely that beyond the semantics, this would be what the reader of this piece would be concerned about?
Like how applicable is biotech to the current day life?
Before we go further, it is expedient we list the 4 Biotechnology areas, they are:
- Medical Biotechnology (Red). Examples of Medical Biotechnology. Vaccines. Antibiotics.
- Agricultural Biotechnology (Green). Examples of Agricultural Biotechnology. Pest Resistant Crops. Plant and Animal Breeding.
- Industrial Biotechnology (White). Examples of Industrial Biotechnology. Biocatalysts. …
What is the future of biotechnology?
The biotech market valued at $752 billion in 2020 is predicted to rise at a compound rate (CAGR) of 15.83 percent from 2021 to 2028 according to a data released by Grand View Research. The upward spike may not be unconnected with government initiatives that are majorly driven by greater investments and the growing demand for personalized healthcare and orphan drugs.
With these figures, the biotechnology market has hit the limelight and it’s not slowing down any time soon.
The biotech market valued at $752 billion in 2020 is predicted to rise at a compound rate (CAGR) of 15.83 percent from 2021 to 2028 according to a data released by Grand View Research. #Biotech #Biotechnology Click To Tweet
Talking about software development, software developers will not need to be going through the process of ‘coding’ anymore as biotechnicians will immerse into a new breed of software programmers, writing genetic codes, while programming the metabolic functions of a cell, in the process manipulating biology itself.
Processed Food, and Modified Crops
Genetic food modification through biotech has been on for a while now, giving crop seeds or animals with aligning and favourable traits the leverage to breed together to produce developed capabilities.
Crops can now be genetically modified to give the farmer special traits to become more nutritious and yield bigger sizes on a smaller land space.
In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the AgriTech startup has been on an upward spiral, helping to cushion the effect of global food shortage arising from the lockdowns, and the climatic impact of agriculture, while also helping to improve ethical practices in farming and animal husbandry.
According to the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), India alone has more than 450 AgriTech startups working to preserve the food security of their nation through biotech applications.
Waste Treatment and Bioremediation
Imagine the stress of wasting more than one can consume but biotech has come to the rescue with the probable solution: the plastic eating enzymes.
That sounds crazy an idea right?
But its gonna happen!
Enzymes that eat plastics will be available soon and the stress of waste disposal will be vastly reduced.
Carbios, a French company latching on the biotechnology train is mooting industrial-scale recycling within the next five years, having concluded the first round of testing C-ZYME, a method of revolutionising recycling where tones of plastic waster can be converted into liveable, possibly even fertile land, while preserving ocean biodiversity and cleanliness. Carbios has already partnered with plastic using companies like L’Oreal, Nestle and Pepsi to achieve the waste recycling goal and of course biotechnology comes into the fore!
Carbios, a French company latching on the biotechnology train is mooting industrial-scale recycling within the next five years, having concluded the first round of testing C-ZYME #Biotechnology Click To Tweet
Petro-gas companies are in a league of their own and thus biofuels may not have reached that level to have the leverage to compete with them but in the no-distant future that may change, as biofuels will shoot itself as a viable alternative that can’t be denied.
The biotechnology principle will in the soon future replace petroleum fuels with biomass-based diesel fuel, with the source being able to be harvested and processes in very large quantities.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the United States derives 5 percent of its fuel from Biomass based sources, namely corn grown in the country’s centre, and companies are aiming to turn that into a 20 in the coming decades.
Therapeutics, Diagnostics, and Healthcare
With biotechnology, there promises to be a major increase in stem cell therapies along with bioprinting, gene editing and nanomedicine.
Imagine the possibility of future generations living with 3D printed hearts, livers, lungs and bones?
Yes, biotech says so!
Nanomedicine on its own has a futuristic potential in combating cancer to a standstill. Nanobots can be drafted to eliminate cancer cells from the inside with the conversion of infrared light to heat energy, removing cancer from the body and then totally disposing them off.
Like a magic kind of cancer healing?
Yes, that’s the potential biotechnology has!
How about Gene Therapy?
Imagine you as a parent being able to edit the gene of your coming child to eliminate genetic or environmental diseases, make them smarter, stronger, taller or even more handsome and beautiful?
It is not impossible with biotech!
The concept of having ‘designer babies just like the way we genetically modify pigs, goats and other animals and plants to give us that desired quality is not a tall dream.
Gene therapy has no doubt being on the ascending growth since the 1990a, with food tech and healthcare solutions rising in dependability and demand but little has been heard of baby gene modification: Herein lies the biotech future!
The application of this technology can make one’s child free from major diseases, have a beautiful frame, like being close to being a perfect piece of art.
A lot of questions will be asked: Like When genetic manipulation becomes mainstream, will “organic humans’ become second class citizens, viewed as inferior, a remnant of humanity’s inadequate past?, but the vision nature has to rise above the negatives of innovations will always be obtainable.
Biotechnology and its application is proving to be vast that everyday, its benefits on our everyday living continue to grow in numbers.
Welcome to the future of biotech!