Biotechnology has become a buzzword in many industries but what does it mean? Biotechnology is the study of living organisms and their use in various fields.
It is a science that deals with the manipulation of living things in a lab for various purposes.
We have been using it for a long time but it has only recently become mainstream. Biotechnology is being used to help address some of the biggest challenges that humanity faces today. Biotechnology is being used in a variety of different ways for a variety of different purposes.
It is a multidisciplinary field which crosses a number of different academic disciplines, so the term is often used to describe a wide variety of different technologies and strategies.
In fact, it’s easy to see how the term ‘biotechnology‘ is being used. However, the term is also being used as a catch-all phrase to define a wide variety of different emerging technologies.
In this article, you will learn about ways in which biotechnology is changing the world.
How Biotechnology is Changing The World?
Here are eight ways in which biotechnology is changing the world we live in for better.
Sustainable Food Supply
As the world population continues to grow, the pressure on food supplies also grows. Combine that with food wastage and climate change and we might have a serious problem on our hands. Despite genetic modification to boost agricultural yields, the dream of sustainable food supply still remains just that, a dream. So, what’s the solution? Biotechnology.
A decade ago, more than 16 million farmers grew biotechnology and developed crops on 400 million acres and were surprised to see the results. Not only does these crops require less pesticides but also prevent soil erosion through tilling.
Both resulted in lower cost for farmers and higher yield. Fast forward to today, biotechnology has evolved and got better with time. It can deliver much better results than it did a decade ago. It can help farmers protect their crops from damage and improve the quality of the final output while increasing the yield at the same time.
Sea Water Bio Processes
Did you know that only 3% of earth’s water is freshwater and only 1.2% of that is considered drinking water? The rest is composed of salty seas, ice and glaciers. With water sources drying up due to rising temperatures, our earth might run out of clean drinking water, which can not only impact humans but can also affect agriculture.
Biotechnology companies are working on a solution to this problem. They are using halliophic bacteria which grows on the surface of seawater and is capable of producing useful products. Such as chemicals and polymeric material. This technology leverages photosynthetic biomass present in the ocean such as micro and macro algae.
Zero Waste BioProcessing
Another elusive dream that scientists are chasing is zero waste. Biotechnology can make this dream come true. Here is how it works. You can process waste in biorefineries and convert that waste into valuable products. Such as fuels and chemicals.
Thanks to the advances in biotechnologies, these biorefineries don’t even require resource intensive inputs and methods anymore. This can drastically reduce waste and toxic chemicals produced by factories when manufacturing products. All this will go a long way in making our world a better place to live for our future generations.
Using Carbon Dioxide as a Raw Material
One of the main reasons behind global warming and climate change is rising CO2 levels. The good news is that many living organisms consume and use carbon dioxide which can reduce its emissions.
All we have to do is to put these natural biological systems to good use to minimize the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Biotech engineers are also working on approaches to convert carbon dioxide into energy, chemicals and fuels so it can be put to good use.
The more carbon dioxide we can convert into fuel and chemicals the better as it would decrease the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Biotechnology is paving the way for the development of a new type of medicine known as regenerative medicine. What really makes regenerative medicines stand out from traditional medicines is its long shelf life and ability to heal injuries quickly.
Stem cells, especially induced pluripotent stem cells are widely used to create regenerative medicine. Now, this regenerative medicine is also being used to damage or malfunction human organs. Soon, we might see patients with damaged organs take regenerative medicine and their organs will start functioning like a normal patient would do.
Soil and Water Improvements
The lack of fresh water and cultivable land are limited resources. This means that we will have to efficiently use these resources. Poor allocation, utilization and wasting these resources puts further pressure on these limited resources.
Thanks to biotechnology, you can restore the vitality and viability of the land by using bio regeneration, bioremediation and bioaugmentation technologies.
Now, we can not only reuse the same land multiple times for cultivation but also get better results every time. In addition to this, you can also augment potentially limited resources to reduce the pressure on supply of these scarce resources. Once this technology goes mainstream, we might see it bring a revolution in agriculture.
Did you know how much time and money it took to sequence a complete human genome? It took scientists 13 years and $1.5 million. Yes, you read that right. Fast forward to today, we can perform the same exercise in less than a day and it would only cost us $1000 these days.
That’s how much biotechnology has advanced over the years. Today, we can quickly identify the susceptibility of a rare disease with the help of genome sequencing. This will prove to be a game changer for medical and healthcare industry as it would give them better understanding and early diagnostic capabilities.
How is biotechnology impacting your day to day life? Share it with us in the comments section below.