As we all know that Biotechnology is a technology that always brings new solutions, techniques, and useful products by using living organisms and biological systems, in our lives to make it easy going. Modern civilization is hard to imagine without Biotechnology. We have been using biotechnology in everyday life since the ancient period:-in making food, such as bread and cheese, preserving dairy products, and for fermenting beer. Biotechnology is an essential part of our everyday life even though we don’t realise it. There are many ways in which biotechnology can improve our everyday life.
Biotechnology could help to address many problems such as climate change, infectious diseases, food security, energy shortage, to name a few. Day by day where the population is increasing and natural resources are decreasing, biotechnologists developed solutions by increasing agriculture productivity [Genetically modified crops] and alternative sources.
Biotechnology has been providing services in health care & medicines since 1960. Worldwide millions of people are taking advantage of drugs and vaccines produced by biotechnology. Biotechnology is responsible for hundreds of medical diagnosis tests. If we look into today’s situation of COVID-19 where the whole world is suffering from this pandemic, biotechnology is playing a key role by the RT-PCR test, & by working on viral mechanisms biotechnologists got success in the vaccine production. COVID vaccines are also a precious gift to humankind & without biotechnology, it wasn’t possible.
There must be someone around you who is suffering from diabetes. Before 1972 [first recombinant insulin was discovered], insulin used to be produced from the pancreas of the pig that was allergic to some insulin dependent diabetics. Now genetically engineered bacteria produce insulin without animals and that is saving millions of people’s lives today. Industrial biotechnology uses enzymes & microorganisms to make bio-based products in the sectors such as chemicals, food technology, detergents, paper, textiles, and biofuels. Cosmetics have become an important part of our life. Biotechnology is used to produce, discover, and develop components by cosmetic companies.
Food is one of the basic living needs and biotechnology plays a huge role in the food industry including agriculture, fermentation & preservation. Biotechnology has brought remarkable changes in the field of food development by better crops. But what is meant by “better”? Through the selection of traits like drought resistance, pest resistance, herbicide resistance, longer storage life & nutrient value, biotechnology is developing better crops. Transgenic crops are herbicide-tolerant e.g. soybean, corn, and cotton & BT crops are insect resistant e.g. cotton and corn. Have you heard about “Golden Rice”? It is also a biotechnology product that is rich in vitamin A. It is beneficial for the millions of people in countries that are suffering from vitamin A deficiency disease.
Do you know about fermented foods? Fermentation is one of the ancient techniques of biotechnology. Fermentation is an anaerobic process in which microorganisms like yeast and bacteria participate in the breakdown of the food components like glucose into organic acids, gases, or alcohol. Fermented foods have unique & desirable teste, texture quality, fragrance, and appearance.
It increases the quality & nutritional value of that particular food. There are so many examples of fermented foods like yogurt, cheese, bread dough, sour cream, Kimchi [fermented cabbage recipe], Pickle, beverages like wine, beer, cider, etc that we use in our everyday life. There are various products we obtained due to the process of biotechnology which we utilize in our everyday life. Biotechnology has the biggest impact on our life. Have a look around you, you will realise that you are surrounded by many products that are gifts for us by biotechnology. We should say thanks and appreciate biotechnology for making our life easy.
Author – Nainakshi Singoria
College: Dr. B. Lal Institute of Biotechnology
Course: M.Sc. Microbiology Semester I