What is Biotechnology?

Biotechnology is the youngest branch of biology. It was first recognized as a separate branch by Leeds City Council in the United Kingdom(1920). However, the name biotechnology has come into wide use after 1970s.

Biotechnology simply means the scientific art using living organisms to make desired products. The name biotechnology was coined by Karl Ereky in 1917 to describe the large scale production of biology based goods. Biotechnology is combined term of Biology and Technology.
Biotechnology includes recombinant technology, gene cloning, tissue culture, plant propagation, fermentation, human cloning etc.

Definition for Biotechnology

Biotechnology has been defined variously by different workers and organizations
  • The integral application of knowledge and techniques of chemistry, microbiology, genetics, and chemical engineering to draw benefits at the technological level from the properties and capacities of micro organisms and cell cultures. (The European Federation of Biotechnology, 1978)
  • The use of biological organisms or process in manufacturing industries. Bacteria, yeasts, algae, the cells and tissues of higher plants or the enzymes isolated from the organisms, provide the active ingredients for new industries and for the replacement of existing chemicals or mechanical process with new or improved industrial microbiological processes. (The Ministry of International Trade and Industry)
  • The application of scientific and engineering principles to the processing of materials by biological agents to provide goods and service. (The Organisation for Economic Co operation and Development, 1981)
  • The application of biochemistry, biology, microbiology and chemical engineering to industrial process and products and on environment. (The International Union of Pure and Applied chemistry, 1981)
  • The application of biological organisms, systems or processes to manufacturing and service industries. (M.D Trevan, 1988)
  • The branch of molecular biology concerned with the use of microorganisms to perform specific industrial processes. (Antony Lewis 2001).

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