Biotechnology has developed by leaps and bounds during the past century and its development can be well understood under two main heads namely conventional or traditional biotechnology and modern biotechnology
1. Conventional or traditional biotechnology:
This is the kitchen technology developed by our ancestors, and it is as old as human civilization. It uses bacteria and other microbes in the daily usage for preparation of dairy products like curd, ghee, cheese and in preparation of foods like idli, dosa, nan, bread and pizza. This conventional biotechnology also extends to preparation of alcoholic beverages like beer, wine, etc. With the advancement of the science and technology during the 18th century, these kitchen technologies gained scientific validation.
2 – Modern Biotechnology
There are two main features of this technology, that differentiated it from the conventional technology they are
i) ability to change the genetic material for getting new products with specific requirement through recombinant DNA technology
ii) ownership of the newly developed technology and its social impact.
Today, biotechnology is a billion dollar business around the world, where in pharmaceutical companies, breweries, agro industries and other biotechnology based industries apply biotechnological tools for their product improvement. Modern biotechnology embraces all methods of genetic modification by recombinant DNA and cell fusion technology.
The major focus of biotechnology are
• Fermentation for production of acids, enzymes, alcohols, antibiotics, chemicals, vitamins and toxins fine
• Biomass for bulk production of single cell protein , alcohol, and biofuel
• Enzymes as biosensors, in processing industry
• Biofuels for production of hydrogen, alcohol, methane
• Microbial inoculants as biofertiliser, and nitrogen fixers
• Plant and animal cell culture for production of secondary metabolites, monoclonal antibodies
• Recombinant DNA technology for production of fine chemicals, enzymes, vaccines, growth hormones, antibiotics, and interferon
• Process engineering – tools of biotechnology is used for effluent treatment, water recycling. T his unit will reveal the various aspects of modern biotechnology, its products and applications.