Introduction Biotechnology is any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use (UN Convention on Biological Diversity). Basically using living things (or their parts) to improve upon already existing methods or products.
Introduction Biotechnology is seen as a branch of life science or biology, however it draws knowledge from many different fields (i.e. engineering, chemistry, robotics, etc…).
History The earliest form of biotechnology was in the treatment of illness. As early as 200 B.C., different combinations of plant were ground together to use as medicine against certain ailments. This is argued though, since it loosely fits the definition.
History Beer making was probably the first, well documented case of biotechnology. Early cultures used malted grains (and their enzymes) to convert starch into sugar and then added different yeasts to create alcohol and then beer. Babylonian Beer Account
History Like any technology, going to war increased research and in 1917 the United Kingdom found a very cheap way to make acetone (a chemical used in explosives) from corn starch by using a strain of bacteria. Chaim Azriel Weizmann Came up with the ACE process and also was the first president of Israel
History The first “modern” biotechnology example was created in 1971 by Ananda Chakrabarty, working for General Electric, who had developed a bacterium capable of breaking down crude oil, which he proposed to use in treating oil spills.
Presently If you have money, put it into biotechnology companies. It is expected that growth in this industry will be almost 12% this year and about the same next year!
Why the rise? Dealing with an aging US population, looking into environmentally friendly energy sources, better crops and treating once fatal diseases have pushed biotechnology into the forefront this decade. It is thought to be one of the fastest growing industries in the developed world.
Branches of Biotechnology The following are terms for branches of biotechnology, each one we will investigate more thoroughly later on: 1) Bioinformatics: uses biology and computing to analyze data. It is primarily used in pharmaceuticals and genomics’ projects. 2) Blue Biotechnology: marine and aquatic biotechnological applications 3) Green Biotechnology: agricultural biotechnology 4) Red Biotechnology: medical biotechnology 5) White Biotechnology: industrial biotechnology