Biotechnology techniques are used to improve plant productivity and improving the crop yield. These things are achieved by developing disease resistant, drought resistant crops and also new techniques are used to produce industrial products from the waste and by products of agriculture.
Biotechnology techniques are used to develop high yielding crop plants by introducing or activating the genes responsible for the same. Biotechnology techniques are also used to develop disease resistant plants, by inserting identified disease resistant genes into the crop plant. If already disease resistant gene is present in a crop, then techniques are used to express this gene in high level.
Influence of Biotechnology on Agriculture:
1. Biotechnology uses the principle known as biological control, where in natural enemy of a pathogen is identified, then suitable gene modifications are performed in order to change the virulent strain into non virulent form, and these pathogens are introduced into the plants, resulting in the virulent form of same pathogen resistant plants. Example for this biological control applications are Bt cotton and Bt tobacco plants, which are resistant to Bacillus thuringiensis. This reduces the usage of chemical pesticide and weedicide.
Bacillus thuringiensis is a wide spread bacterium, which produces toxins against lipidopteran larva. Bacterial gene responsible for insecticidal activity are identified and introduced into the susceptible plant like cotton, once the lepidopteran larvae feeds on the leaves for these genetically modified plants, the insecticidal genes gets activated and they produce toxins inside these larvae and lead to the death of these larvae.
2. The ability of a plant to trap solar energy is improved using biotechnology techniques; this improved the level of nutrition supplied to the plant.
3. Biotechnology techniques are used to improve the shelf life of agriculture products and by products.
4. Biotechnology technique called as genetic engineering is used to produce disease resistant, herbicide resistant, weedicide resistant plants.
5. Plants are converted into a bioreactor using biotechnology techniques, these bioreactors are used to produce pharmaceutical compounds and also commercially valuable products.
6. Biotechnology techniques are used to change the genetic content of a plant, and these plants can be used in phytoremediation. Phytoremediation is a process of cleaning environment using plants.
7. Industrial biotechnology uses the waste and by products of agriculture to produce commercially viable products.
8. Hypovirulence, that is biotechnology can be used to reduce the virulence of a pathogen like bacteria, virus or fungi
9. Biocontrol agents are produced using biotechnology. For example suicidal baculoviruses are designed and developed, with the ability to self destroy after infecting and killing the insects and pests.
10. Biotechnology technique known as plant tissue culture can be used to produce many numbers of plants in a short span of time using a single plant cell or a mass of cells. By using this technique plants of a particular region can be produced in the lab, genetically modified plants can be produced in a large quantity using plant tissue culture technique. Nearly extinct plants can also be produced in many numbers using biotechnology technique.
11. Biotechnology techniques are also used to improve the nutritional quality of the plant products, like fruits and grains. For example golden rice
12. Biotechnology techniques help in conducting extensive plant research, to study the developmental biology of plant.
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