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The UN convention on Biological Diversity has defined Biotechnology as "’Biotechnology’ means any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use”.
Biotechnology is a multidisciplinary subject. The European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB) considers biotechnology as ‘the integration of natural sciences and organisms, cells, parts thereof and molecular analogues for products and services.’ As we have seen from the definition of Biotechnology, it spreads over a wide spectrum of technologies. The key constituents of Biotechnology are: Chemical Engineering, Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology, Immunology, Molecular and cell Biology, Human, Animal and Plant Physiology.
Biotech industry now has almost captured every sphere of human life. The industry segment is vast. To find the key trends of the industry and the market segment it covers, I will give a broad spectrum of applications of Biotechnology and its market segment. Bioprocess Technology: Better know as fermentation technology. Traditional forms of bioprocess technology related to food and beverages, but new products are increasingly being derived from microbial and mammalian fermentations. Bioprocess technology is increasingly using cells derived from higher plants and animals to produce many important products, foods and beverages.
Enzyme Technology: Food production and preservation, improvement of the environment, and other medical sectors.
Waste Technology: Biotechnology is used to produce Single cell protein (SCP) from organic wastes. SCP is used as protein supplement for animals and human. The waste technology is also supplementary to Environmental and Energy Technology, giving rapid progress in these two segments.
Renewable Resources Technology: The use of biomass as a source of energy supplements the use of fossil fuel.
Plant, animal, agriculture: Plant Biotechnology, Improved varieties of agricultural products using tissue culture, improved resistance to specific herbicides, improved resistance to insects, pests and microbial diseases, improved post harvest characteristics, production of high values oil products, forest biotechnology, biological control, animal biotechnology, genetic engineering for transgenic animals, genetically engineered hormones and vaccines, animal organs for human patients, diagnostic in agriculture, genetically developed seeds,
Health care: New products based on biotechnology are appearing almost daily in the market place, These includes therapeutic products, pre-natal diagnosis of genetic diseases, vaccines, immunodiagnostic and DNA probe of disease identification, and genetic therapy. The use of Antibiotics, Vaccines and monoclonal antibodies, Biopharmaceuticals, insulin, somatostain, interferons, lympokines, Gene therapy are giving new impetus to fight the diseases like AIDS, cancer etc. This is one of the most important segments of market, where Biotechnology is going to take over completely.
Crime detection and identity verification: This segment deals with use of genetics for crime detection.
Metal recovery; Genetically designed microbes are used in the process of extracting oil from ground and metals from factory waste.
Today Biotech industry has penetrated in every sphere of human life. While looking into the market segment and key trend in Biotech industry, we need to consider another factor of the use of Biotechnology, which is gaining momentum over the years, i.e. ethical questions arising out of use of Biotechnology. There is a group of population, who are against use of genetically developed fruits and vegetables. There is going to be an influence of this sentiment in deriving the market segment of Biotech industry. However the positive use of Biotechnology too great, and we can look forward for new additions of Products and Services using Biotechnology.
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