Learn more about the importance of Biotechnology in the different fields.
The OECD defines biotechnology as “the application of scientific principles and the engineering to the processing of materials by biological agents to produce goods and services “.
Biotechnology, or “bioconversion technology” as the name suggests, the result of a marriage between science of living things – the biology - and a set of new techniques from other disciplines such as microbiology , the biochemistry , the biophysical , the genetics , the molecular biology , the computer …
By abuse of language, it is often restricted to the field of genetic engineering and technology resulting from transgenesis , allowing in particular to intervene Heritage genetic species to decrypt or modify (see genetically modified organisms ).
In traditional biotechnology, we find, among other things, the different processes of fermentation known empirically by humans for thousands of years:
§ anaerobic fermentation : in the absence of oxygen :
§ alcoholic fermentation : sugars form of ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide :
§ manufacture of alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine ( wine ),
§ manufacture of bread ( bread );
§ lactic fermentation : sugars form of lactic acid , an alpha hydroxy acids : manufacture of yoghurt , the cheeses , some meats, the sauerkraut ;
§ aerobic fermentation : in oxygen:
§ acetic fermentation : ethyl alcohol form of acetic acid and water ( acidification ):
§ manufacture of vinegar …
Many other technologies used by the food or the kitchen are also part of traditional biotechnology.
Contemporary new biotechnologies
They appear at the end of the xx th century, and are initially mainly based transgenesis , but may further evolve with advances in nanotechnology and bioinformatics . Sometimes they are classified into three categories:
§ “Green Biotechnology” (agricultural interest),
§ “Red Biotechnologies” (of medical interest) and are
§ “White Biotechnology” (defined by EuropaBio in 2003 as “ White Biotechnology is to apply natural processes to industrial production ”and it is therefore particularly bioengineering applied to the service of chemistry ). White Biotechnology allow the manufacture of products such as biofuels, biogazs … For this, we will take the raw material (corn, rapeseed …) that we will turn it into finished products (bioethanol. ..) thanks to microorganisms.
Technologies based on transgenesis became the basis of biotechnology which are now based on new tools for deciphering the genome , with the primary goal the creation of new products market interest, by:
§ genetic modification of organisms of economic interest, such as cereals , to give them characteristics that they have not, for example, resistance to a pest,
§ genetic modification of other agencies, to make them useful to man. For example the creation of goats in integrating their genome genes from spiders to be able to extract milk from their son for use as textile .
These developments have thus generated considerable debate ethical, political and economic on the patenting of life , sometimes conflicting.
Biotechnology (Photo credit: Idaho National Laboratory)
Biotechnology plays an important role in the industries of health , but also have a role in the emerging sectors of the environment , the agriculture , the food , and for the development of innovative industrial processes . According to the OECD , they now contribute less than 1% of GDP in OECD countries, but this threshold could rise to 2.7% by 2030 2 . The European Union ”invests 1.9 billion euros in the creation of a European bio-economy under the theme” Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology “of the Seventh Framework Programme (7 th PC). ”