Biotechnology and Environment
Environmental biotechnology can simply be described as "the optimal use of nature, in the form of plants, animals, bacteria, fungi and algae, to produce renewable energy, food and nutrients in a synergistic integrated cycle of profit making processes where the waste of each process becomes the feedstock for another process".
Significance towards agriculture, food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation and the MDGs
Science through the IAASTD has called for the advancement of small-scale agro-ecological farming systems and technology in order to achieve food security, climate change mitigation, climate change adaptation and the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals. Environmental biotechnology has been shown to play a significant roll in agroecology in the form of zero waste agriculture and most significantly through the operation of over 15 million biogas digesters worldwide.
Significance towards industrial biotechnology
Consider an environment in which pollution of a particular type is maximum. Let us consider the effluents of a starch industry which has mixed up with a local water body like a lake or pond. We find huge deposits of starch which are not so easily taken up for degradation by micro-organisms except for a few exemptions. we isolate a few micro-organisms from the polluted site and scan for any significant changes in their genome like mutations or evolutions. The modified genes are then identified. This is done because, the isolate would have adapted itself to degrade/utilize the starch better than other microbes of the same genus. Thus, the resultant genes are cloned onto industrially significant micro-organisms and are used for more economically significant processes like in pharmaceutical industry, fermentations...etc.
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