Biotechnology, few people have heard of that word. And even most of those who have, barely understand what it entails. But in reality, Biotechnology is an extension of one of the many modern sciences. It is an emerging technology. If so, then what is biotechnology all about? To understand that, we need to first know what biotechnology means.

What Is Biotechnology?

Biotechnology derives it meaning from two different words which are both related to science. Bio means life and, technology is the application of scientific knowledge to solve problems. That means biotechnology is the use of living organisms in the industrial and scientific process. It also is the application of the principles of engineering and technology to life sciences.

Types of Biotechnology

Biotechnology can be grouped into four major categories, which are:

  • Industrial biotechnology
  • Agricultural biotechnology
  • Medical biotechnology, and
  • Environmental biotechnology

Industrial biotechnology

Industrial biotechnology uses approaches that will yield clean industrial processes that are cost-effective and sustainable and provides us with a better and safer world that is free from most of the industrial hazards which have plummeted our world of today.

For instance, industrial biotechnology has made advances in alternative energy to fossil fuels, reducing the pollution from industries and is even working on providing permanent solutions to climate change.

Agricultural Biotechnology

Through agricultural biotechnology, farmers have benefitted immensely since they can produce more crops with tools that can make production efficient. Some crops can be engineered to resist certain plant diseases and insect pests. As a result, pest and plant control is easier.

Medical Biotechnology

The many scientific wonders of biotechnology would be incomplete, without mentioning the aspect of medical biotechnology.

Biotechnology in medicine is the practice of integrating engineering into medical science. This involves different branches which are combined to serve a common purpose of advancing the medical sciences. It is the application of biotechnology tools for producing medical products that can be used for the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of medical diseases and physical defects. It is a very broad extension of biotechnology, that has progressed rapidly over the past decades.

Through medical biotechnology, humans have been able to discover the DNA, operate transfer on vital organs of the human body, and have been able to solve other numerous medical wonders.

Environmental Biotechnology

Environmental Biotechnology is the process of preventing pollution and rejuvenating the quality of our environment. One aspect of environmental biotechnology is bioremediation or the use of Biosensors.

For life to exist in good condition, the quality of our environment and its components should be optimal. Biosensors perform this function. They use microorganisms to detect toxic substances in water, air and other environmental elements. Environmental biotechnology also entails the treatment of wastewater by; Activated Sludge, Oxidation Ponds, Tricking Filters, Bio-filters and Anaerobic methods using microbes.

This improves the quality of life in an environment that is constantly being polluted by crude oil spills, atmospheric Carbon (II) Oxide and improper waste management to mention but a few.

Why Biotechnology is important

Biotechnology has contributed positively to the standard of life today; from the food we eat, the water we drink and even the air we breathe.

Every aspect of biotechnology has turned out to be crucial to man’s survival on earth. This is because it has made many advances that are responsible for the comfortable life we enjoy today.

Clearly, the chief virtue of Biotechnology is to create a utopian system of living for mankind, whereby technology will be the utmost solution to our problems.

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