Biology plus technology equals biotechnology. It is technology that is founded on technology and connects cellular and biomolecular processes. As a result, technologies and products are developed that help improve people's lives and the Earth's health. For over 6,000 years, the biological processes of microorganisms have been used to make and improve on a wide range of food products including bread and cheese, and to help preserve dairy products. Early biotechnology developed when farmers used cross-breeding or cross-pollination to improve species of plants and animals.
Biotechnology today makes available revolutionary products and technologies to fight against debilitating and rare diseases, feed the hungry, reduce human's environmental footprint, use cleaner and less energy, and have safer, cleaner, and more effective, efficient processes for industrial manufacturing.
Today, there are several hundred biotechnology health care products and vaccines available to people and many are for previously untreatable diseases. Millions of farmers around the world use agricultural biotechnology to increase output, control and prevent insect and pest damage to crops, and reduce farming's negative effect on the environment.
There are also more than fifty biorefineries being built throughout North America to test and refine technologies and produce biofuels and chemicals from renewable biomass, which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions. There are many advances in the world of biotechnology which will help prepare and meet the need for society's future challenges. However, there is also the potential for biological warfare using some of the same biotechnologies.
1. Health: Referred to as red biotechnology, it has brought together the resources in nature and man's own genetic code and makeup to heal, as well as encourage further research by reducing rates of infection, saving millions of children's lives, increasing the odds and length of life for those with life-threatening illnesses, minimizing health risks and side effects of treatments, disease detection techniques, and battling serious illnesses and everyday threats in developing areas of the world.
2. Manufacturing: White biotech is used in biological processes like fermentation and joins biocatalysts such as enzymes, yeast, and other microbes to become microscopic manufacturing plants. In addition, biotech lessens the steps in chemical manufacturing processes, lowers the temperature for cleaning clothes annually saving billions of dollars, saving on operating costs for manufacturing, reducing the use of and reliance on petrochemicals, cut greenhouse gas emissions, decreasing water usage and waste generation, and using the full potential of typical biomass waste products.
3. Food: Green biotech helps to feed the world by generating higher crop yields, lessen the use of agricultural chemicals leading to less runoff of these products into the environment, reducing the tilling of farmland, developing crops with enhanced nutrition profiles that resolve vitamin and nutrient deficiencies, production of allergen and toxin-free foods, and much more.
4. Aquatic: Blue biotech involves processes in marine environments, such as controlling the spread of harmful and possibly deadly water-borne organisms.
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