Understanding Biotechnology

Although Biotechnology is growing at an unbelievable pace, it is extraordinary that it cannot be easily defined. The term Biotechnology was coined by a Hungarian engineer Karl Ereky in 1917, although he used it to describe large scale feeding of pigs with sugar beets. Biotechnology, in his own words, was 'all the lines of work by which products were produced from raw materials with the aid of living things.' For the longest time, biotechnology meant industrial fermentation.

The nature of biotechnology is such that it is interdisciplinary in nature and hence, has a wide range of applications. Each discipline will hence be able to offer a specialized definition. The European Federation of Biotechnology considers it as the integration of natural sciences and organisms, cells, their components, and molecular analogues for products and services. It basically represents the use of microbes, animal and plant cells, enzymes to synthesize, breakdown or transform materials.

Understanding these various definitions may be useful in understanding the importance of biotechnology in our lives. Here is a compilation of some other definitions:

 The application of scientific and engineering principles to the processing of materials by biological agents to provide goods and services.
 The applications of biological organisms, systems and processes to manufacturing and service industries.
 The controlled application of biological agents like microorganisms or cellular components for beneficial purposes.
 The integrated use of biochemistry, microbiology and engineering techniques to achieve technological application of the microbes, cultured cells.
 The use of biological organisms and their components in agriculture, food and other industries.
 The use of biological organisms and their components for transformation of raw materials into commercial products.
 Technology using biological phenomena for copying and manufacturing various commercially useful substances.
 Controlled application of simple biological agents in technically useful applications in manufacture process.
 The use of living organisms like fungi, algae, bacteria, yeast etc in the manufacture of useful products.
 The exploitation of biological processes for commercial purposes including genetic engineering of microbes for production of useful products like antibiotics, enzymes.
 The division of molecular biology which utilizes microbes to carry out some specialized industrial processes.
 The branch of engineering in which biological science is used to examine the relationship between organisms and their environment.
 It is a field of Biology that involves using living things in medicine, engineering, genetic engineering, tissue culture, cell culture procedures.
 Encompasses all the technologies that biologists use to modify DNA or biological genetic material.
 A diverse area of life sciences that uses biological techniques or living organisms to manufacture products like drugs, chemicals that humans require.
 The use of living organisms to produce useful products.
 The use of biological methods, involving alteration or transfer of genetic materials to manufacture new products that can be used in various fields.
 It is broadly defined as the utilization of biological processes of microorganisms, plants or animals for the benefit of humans.
 It is defined as the science of using the living organisms and their components to produce goods and services. It may involve manipulation and modification of organisms at the molecular level, in the process of creation of new and practical applications for agriculture, medicine or industry.
 It describes the interdependence of machines and living organisms. It is the process by which people are increasingly able to re-create limbs, replace tissues etc.
 It is the technology that can include genetic engineering, forensics, animal breeding, plant culture, diagnostics, and agriculture, for working with biological systems.
 It is the industry that uses biological processes to make a product.
 Principles of biological science applied in genetic engineering and rDNA technology.
 Set of Biological techniques that are developed through basic research and then applied to research and product development.
 It is the fusion of biology with technology.
 It is the application of biological techniques like cell fusion and other new bioprocessing techniques towards product research and development.
 The use of Biology to solve problems and make commercially useful products.

The bottom line is that Biotechnology is an interdisciplinary science that utilizes biological techniques for the betterment of mankind. Understanding all these applications may help understand the indispensible role that it plays in our lives.

About Author / Additional Info: