Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Biotech Industry

The UN convention on Biological Diversity has defined Biotechnology as "'Biotechnology' means any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use".

Biotechnology is a multidisciplinary subject. The European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB) considers biotechnology as 'the integration of natural sciences and organisms, cells, parts thereof and molecular analogues for products and services.' As we have seen from the definition of Biotechnology, it spreads over a wide spectrum of technologies. The key constituents of Biotechnology are: Chemical Engineering, Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology, Immunology, Molecular and cell Biology, Human, Animal and Plant Physiology. Biotech industry now has almost captured every sphere of human life. The industry segment is vast. To find the key trends of the industry and the market segment it covers, I will give a broad spectrum of applications of Biotechnology and its market segment. Bioprocess Technology: Better know as fermentation technology. Traditional forms of bioprocess technology related to food and beverages, but new products are increasingly being derived from microbial and mammalian fermentations. Bioprocess technology is increasingly using cells derived from higher plants and animals to produce many important products, foods and beverages. Enzyme Technology: Food production and preservation, improvement of the environment, and other medical sectors. Waste Technology: Biotechnologyis used to produce Single cell protein (SCP) from organic wastes. SCP is used as protein supplement for animals and human. The waste technology is also supplementary to Environmental and Energy Technology, giving rapid progress in these two segments. Environmental Technology; Waste water and sewerage treatment, Landfill technologies, composting, bioremediation, Detection and monitoring pollutants, microbes and geological environment, environmental sustainability and clean technology. Resources Technology: The use of biomass as a source of energy supplements the use of fossil fuel. Plant, animal, agriculture: Plant Biotechnology, Improved varieties of agricultural products using tissue culture, improved resistance to specific herbicides, improved resistance to insects, pests and microbial diseases, improved post harvest characteristics, production of high values oil products, forest biotechnology, biological control, animal biotechnology, genetic engineering for transgenic animals, genetically engineered hormones and vaccines, animal organs for human patients, diagnostic in agriculture, genetically developed seeds, Health care: New products based on biotechnology are appearing almost daily in the market place, These includes therapeutic products, pre-natal diagnosis of genetic diseases, vaccines, immunodiagnostic and DNA probe of disease identification, and genetic therapy. The use of Antibiotics, Vaccines and monoclonal antibodies, Biopharmaceuticals, insulin, somatostain, interferons, lympokines, Gene therapy are giving new impetus to fight the diseases like AIDS, cancer etc. This is one of the most important segments of market, where Biotechnology is going to take over completely. Crime detection and identity verification: This segment deals with use of genetics for crime detection. Metal recovery; Genetically designed microbes are used in the process of extracting oil from ground and metals from factory waste. Today Biotech industry has penetrated in every sphere of human life. While looking into the market segment and key trend in Biotech industry, we need to consider another factor of the use of Biotechnology, which is gaining momentum over the years, i.e. ethical questions arising out of use of Biotechnology. There is a group of population, who are against use of genetically developed fruits and vegetables. There is going to be an influence of this sentiment in deriving the market segment of Biotech industry. However the positive use of Biotechnology too great, and we can look forward for new additions of Products and Services using Biotechnology.

Private-Public Sector Partnership Necessary in Biotechnology Research

There are very interesting developments in the field of agricultural biotechnology currently taking place in India.

The Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company (Mahyco) has offered to transfer the technology and basic breeding material of Bt Brinjal, a low calorie vegetable widely grown in India, to two public sector institutions; The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore (TNAU) and the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad (UASD).

The public sector institutions will not pay any royalty as long as they don’t commercialize the genetically modified Brinjal. This is a very unusual, but highly significant gesture.

Private seed companies, especially in the field of biotechnology, are not known to freely share innovational information with public organizations. They keep such information under a lock and key for fear of patent infringement. While this is understandable, it has fueled animosity and suspicions among scientists working in public institutions, especially in developing countries.

Obviously, no company would be willing to invest billions of dollars to develop new seed varieties only for an armchair scientist to copy cat them. But the need to safeguard proprietary information shouldn’t override the desire for seed companies to partner with public institutions. Doing so will deny the anti-biotech crowd a chance to characterize biotech companies as selfish and secretive.

Mahyco has set a good example that all biotechnology seed companies should follow. Biotech companies stand to benefit if they open their doors wider to public institutions. This is especially critical in Africa where genetically modified crops are yet to make major inroads.

It can’t be gainsaid that there is already such partnership going on in Africa. In Kenya, for example, the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) is working closely with biotech seed companies in the development of genetically modified maize resistant to stem borers. But more such partnership is needed to accelerate the adoption of genetically modified crops in developing countries.

The Future Of Biotechnology Jobs In The UK

Science and technology have become fused in many ways throughout the United Kingdom. Medical technology has advanced immeasurably, applying electronics and computing to assist in many forms of diagnostic equipment and tests. Pharmaceutical companies facilitate their ability to compete in a difficult global marketplace by investing in mobile computers and PDAs for personnel in order to enable them to carry full information and present their product lines. Chemical engineering departments throughout the UK are utilising highly advanced equipment, often linked to computer technology, in the course of their work. One result of this growth in the application of technology , in particular for medical science, is the creation of a vibrant biotechnology job market in the UK.

Biotechnology may be regarded as the combination of technology and living organisms in the interest of scientific endeavour and advancement. The efforts mentioned above are only a few examples of the jobs available to graduates interested in this burgeoning field. The biotechnology job market, however, is a difficult one to assess for young professionals since it is a relatively new field in the private sector. However, an astute biotechnology engineer or consultant may appraise job prospects by looking at three key branches of this scientific field.

Red biotechnological endeavours are those that involve the medical profession. These scientific efforts have produced amazing results, including advancement in the use of living organisms to create antibodies and the generation of new vaccines. The medical profession is grappling with the ethics of certain aspects of biotechnology, including manipulation of genes by powerful computer-aided operations. However, professionals with a medical background and an understanding of information technology will be able to take advantage of the fact that red biotechnology will expand further in the future.

Many manufacturers and industrial facilities are beginning to utilise gray biotechnology in order to cut overhead costs and improve environmental protection. Gray biotechnological professionals, like chemical and production engineers, look to the enhanced use of living organisms to make processes easier and more acceptable. Facilities that treat sewage and water, for example, can use certain bacteria in the filtration process to eliminate harmful organisms before they reach the public. These positions are perhaps the most prevalent in the United Kingdom and biotech professionals interested in this field may benefit accordingly.

Green biotechnology, which provides assistance to farms and agricultural businesses, is a specific aspect of this scientific field. Biotechnology used on the farm includes the creation of plants that can endure a variety of meteorological conditions and the use of treatment options on products to be sold for public consumption. Agricultural jobs are at a premium in the United Kingdom but biotech professionals with a background in agriculture are usually assured of long term career success. Leading stores and other food providers rely on green biotechnology for the consistency of many of their food products.

Article Source: U Publish Articles by Stephen Trigg