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Introduction to Biotechnology | Definition, Modern Examples, Techniques & its Applications

Biotechnology is a very fascinating branch of Science. It combines the study of Biology and Technology. But how do we combine the two completely different fields? Let's to learn some interesting things about the field of biotechnology.

lactose-free this is a comment tag which has foundered many food packets these days lactose as we know is a natural sugar found in milk but why should we get rid of lactose that's because many people have a peculiar intolerance towards this natural sugar however lactose free products but not an option until a few years back it's all possible now due to the advancements in the field of biotechnology that useful products like lactose free consumables and many more can be produced.

so what exactly is biotechnology, well it's defined as the utilization of organisms or a part of the organism or any biological process for the benefit of mankind for example we know how bread is made the dough is added with the organisms like yeast which help in releasing certain chemicals the reactions ultimately give us the soft and fluffy loaf on baking.

Here we've used yeast organism to obtain the product of our interest so do we mean that bread making is a part of biotechnology well kind of processes like fermentation are considered as a part of classical biotechnology as they include the utilization of organisms thus obtaining products for human benefit like food items medicines hybrid crops and so on are all possible due to biotechnology does there are numerous applications of biotechnology.

let's have a look at a few examples to understand how wide the field is let's also understand how an organism or a part of it or some processes can be used to harvest important products for mankind let's take examples of white production hepatitis B vaccine synthesis and Golden Rice production.

Let's have a look at each individually now wine is usually made from the grapes how can grapes which are fruits get converted to a beverage like wine well this is where the micro-organism named yeast comes into play it feeds on the sugars present in the grape juice and releases alcohol and carbon dioxide as byproducts here a complete organism is used for the processing of grape juice and to convert it into wine this was the first part of the definition and the second part of the definition states that apart of the organism can be used so how can that be done for this let's have a look at the application of biotechnology in the field of medicine well the emergence of biotechnology has been nothing less than a boon for the medical industry everything ranging from vaccines to gene therapy has raised the standards of healthy living now let's take hepatitis B vaccine as an example this vaccine has a recombinant version previously hepatitis B vaccine was developed from the blood of the humans who were already suffering from hepatitis B but this was very painful for the patients as the amount of blood required for vaccine production was too high.

so extracting some particular amount of blood of the infected person was very excruciating and as the vaccine was derived directly from the patient's body there could be negative reactions in the receiving candidate with the development of biotechnology newer vaccines that are synthetic in nature started getting produced on the similar lines the commercially available hepatitis B vaccine is now being synthetically made by utilizing a small part of the pathogenic virus it's also known as recombinant hepatitis B vaccine.

Studies have shown that getting infected with hepatitis B is nearly impossible if a person is injected with recombinant hepatitis B vaccine isn't this a miracle it is equivalent this is also known as the first anti-cancer vaccine and why so because it's proven that the vaccine helps in reducing the chances of developing liver cancer this is one example of how apart from any organism can be used for product development.

Let's move ahead to the third one the last part of the definition stated the use of a process let's take the Golden Rice as a third example is the rice made of gold no absolutely not then why is it called Golden Rice. Well the rice we usually see is whitish in color however the golden rice we're talking about is a modified version which is yellowish in color hence the name golden rice but what makes this rice yellowish and so important it's the presence of beta-carotene in the rice and what is that beta-carotene is a red orange colored pigment which gets converted to vitamin A.

In the human body we all know the importance of this vitamin it is most essential for the development and maintenance of good vision the deficiency of vitamin A causes vision related issues and malnutrition any idea why was only rice chosen for modification that was because the staple diet for a majority of the population in the areas affected with vitamin A deficiency was rice so to minimize the deficiency this variety of rice was developed the modification of rice was done by exploiting a biological process making it a classic example of biotechnological achievements this variety of rice falls under the category of genetically modified organisms abbreviated as GMOs.

Happy learning!

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