Biotechnology has applications in four major industrial areas, including health care (madical), crop produc-tion and agriculture, non food (industrial) uses of crops and other products (e. g. biodegradable plastics, vegeta-ble oil, biofuels), and environmental uses.
For example, one application of biotechnology is the directed use of organisms for the manufacture of or-ganic products (examples include beer and milk products). Another example is using naturally present bacteria by the mining industry in bioleaching. Biotechnology is also used to recycle, treat waste, clean up sites con-taminated by industrial activities (bioremediation), and also to produce biological weapons.
A series of deriver terms have been coined to identify several branches of biotechnology, for example:
– Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field which addresses biological problems using computational techniques, and makes the rapid organization and analysis of biological data possible. The field may also be referred to as computational biology, and can be defined as, “conceptualizing biology in terms of molecules and then applying informatics techniques to understand and organize the information associated with these mole-cules, on a large scale.” Bioinformatics plays a key role in various areas, such as functional genomics, structural genomics, and proteomics, and forms a key component in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sector.
– Blue biotechnology is a term that has been used to describe the marine and aquatic of biotechnology, but its use is relative rare.
– Green biotechnology is biotechnology applied to agricultural processes. An example would be the selec-tion and domestication of plant via micropropagation. Another example is the designing of transgenic plants to grow under specific environmental conditional or in the presence (or absence) of certain agricultural chemical. One hope is that green biotechnology might produce more environmentally friendly solutions than traditional industrial agriculture. An example of this is the engineering of a plant to express a pesticide, thereby eliminat-ing the need for external application of pesticides. An example of this would be Bt corn. Whether or not green biotechnology products such as this are ultimately more environmentally friendly is a topic of considerable de-bate.
– Red biotechnology is applies to medical processes. Some example are the designing of organisms to produce antibiotics, and the engineering of genetic cures through genomic manipulation.
– White biotechnology, also known as industrial biotechnology, is biotechnology applied to industrial processes. An example is the designing of an organism to produce a useful chemical. Another example is the using of enzymes as industrial catalysts to either produce valuable chemicals or destroy hazardous/polluting chemicals. White biotechnology tends to consume less in resources than traditional processes used to produce industrial goods.
– The investments and economic output of all of these types of applied biotechnologies form what has been describes as the bioeconomy.
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