Biotechnology is a form of technology that utilizes living organisms, biological systems, or parts of these to develop or create different products. Biotechnology provides tools to make production more manageable and cheaper for farmers. It covers many different disciplines like molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics etc. New technologies have been developed to aid industries like health and agriculture. Medicinal therapies have been created to help those in healthcare, while genetically modified plants, biological treatments, and biofuels have aided the agricultural sector to be sustainable.
Agricultural biotechnology covers fisheries and aquaculture, agro-industry, forestry, crops, and livestock by using technology to help process aquatic resources (fisheries), using sensors and GPS technology for farming (crops), improving the welfare and management of livestock as well as land management for the agro-industry. The use of biotechnology helps conserve genetic resources for food and agriculture, increases crop yields and efficiency, and helps with the diagnosis of plant and animal diseases. Several biotechnology-derived crops have been adopted by growers. These crops have been engineered to be resistant to specific insect pests and plant diseases while decreasing the use of synthetic pesticides.
The use of biotechnology has also improved environmental protection. It helps meet the increasing world food and land demands. Additionally, conserves natural resources and decreases nutrient runoff into bays and rivers. Biotech crops improve safety for farmers, which allows farmers to spend less time on crop management and more time on other profitable ventures.
Biotech crops have begun to incorporate vitamin A, to aid in reducing vitamin A deficiencies as it is harder to extract from raw plant materials. These crops can withstand drought conditions and have the ability to grow in salty soils. These biotech crops can adapt and help mitigate the effects of climate change.
Presently, biotechnology has produced energy like biofuel using algae. This is through the process of photosynthesis of algae which grows oil-rich algae in controlled conditions. This innovative measure would aid in decreasing the global reliance on agricultural chemicals and fossil fuels that threaten the environment and biodiversity.
More uses for biotechnology are being discovered every year, in order to help protect the planet.
Check out below for more resources!
Norwegian University of Science and Technology – What is biotechnology
FAO – Agricultural Biotechnology
USDA – Biotechnology Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
CPI – 10 Everyday uses of Biotechnology
National Library of Medicine – Biotechnological production of β-carotene using plant in vitro cultures