Biotechnology is a research-oriented field for application in various areas such as medicine, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and environment. It is an interdisciplinary science encompassing not only biology, but also other subjects including physics, chemistry, mathematics and engineering.
Biotechnology is one of the fastest growing fields as it finds application in every aspect of industrial and daily life, from the chemical, pharmaceutical and textile industries to genetics and agriculture. In fact, the use and application of biotechnology spans a wide range of activities, including developing new varieties of seeds, improving livestock breeds, creating pesticides of various kinds, and developing industrial enzymes that hasten the production process.
The work done in this field is essentially scientific and research oriented; involving much work in laboratories.
MAIN AREAS OF WORK
Biotechnology studies are applicable in a variety of areas, which include:
In the area of health care, biotechnologists are involved in the development of pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and vaccines. Beginning with the invention of penicillin, which was a major breakthrough in the area of medicine, biotechnologists have been involved in conducting research on and developing new and advanced pharmaceuticals and vaccines.
They also work towards developing new and quicker techniques for detecting disease. In terms of industrial application, biotechnology spans a wide range of activities.
Biotechnologists are involved not only in the various methods of energy production and conservation, but also in chemical processes, textile development, cosmetics, genetic engineering, industrial waste treatment and so on.
AGRICULTURE AND ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
In the area of agriculture, biotechnologists have made major advancements. Biotechnology has opened up new opportunities for crop, tree, and animal improvement. It is now feasible, by a
technology called 'micropropagation', to grow crops, which are perfectly identical in form and quality.
Tissue culture is helping agriculturists overcome the limitations of genetic breeding, disease resistance, soil imbalances etc. Furthermore, biotechnologists are also encouraging a shift from chemical to bio-fertilizers and the development of bio-insecticides and pesticides.
Biotechnology is also applied to developments in horticulture for purposes of export, as well as in the area of animal breeding; animal feed, as well as improved food production for human consumption.
Environmental biotechnology is one of the fastest expanding fields. Control of industrial air
pollution, waste and effluent treatment, are major areas of concern being handled now through biotechnology. Recycling of sewage sludge, microbial treatment for oil spills and toxic wastes and biological waste treatment of industrial effluents is increasingly being tackled by biotech firms.