Blog

Applications of Biotechnology

Major Appplication Areas of Biotechnology
Biotechnology has application in four major industrial areas, including health care (medical), crop production and agriculture, non food (industrial) uses of crops and other products (e.g. biodegradable plastics, vegetable oil, biofuels), and environmental uses.

Agricultural Production Applications
Biotechnology is frequently deliberated the similar with the biomedical investigate, but there are a group of other industries which take advantage of biotech method for studying, cloning and varying genes. We have turn out to be familiar to the thought of enzymes in our everyday lives and a lot of people are recognizable with the argument adjacent the use of GMOs in our foods. The agricultural industry is at the middle of that debate, but since the days of George Washington Carver, agricultural biotech has been producing innumerable new products that have the possible to alter our lives for the improved.

1. Vaccines
Oral vaccines have been in the works for much existence as a likely solution to the increase of disease in immature countries, where costs are excessive to extensive vaccination. Hereditarily engineered crops, frequently fruits or vegetables, planned to carry antigenic proteins from transferable pathogens that will activate an immune reply when injected. An example of this is a patient-specific vaccine for treating cancer. An anti-lymphoma vaccine has been made using tobacco plants carrying RNA from cloned malignant B-cells. The resultant protein is then used to vaccinate the patient and boost their immune system beside the cancer. Tailor-made vaccines for cancer treatment have shown substantial promise in preliminary studies.

2. Antibiotics
Plants are used to create antibiotics for both human and animal use. An expressing antibiotic protein in stock feed, fed straight to animals, is less expensive than traditional antibiotic production, but this practice raise many bioethics issues, because the result is widespread, possibly needless use of antibiotics which may encourage expansion of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strain. Quite a few rewards to using plants to create antibiotics for humans are condensed costs due to the larger quantity of product that can be produced from plants versus a fermentation unit, ease of purification, and condensed risk of contamination compared to that of using mammalian cells and culture media..
3. Flowers
There is extra to agricultural biotechnology than just hostility disease or civilizing food quality. There is some simply aesthetic application and an example of this is the use of gene recognition and transfer techniques to improve the color, smell, size and other features of flowers. Similarly, biotech has been used to make improvement to other common ornamental plants, in particular, shrubs and trees. Some of these changes are similar to those made to crops, such as enhancing cold confrontation of a breed of tropical plant, so it can be grown in northern gardens.

4. Biofuels
The agricultural industry plays a big role in the biofuels industry, as long as the feedstock’s for fermentation and cleansing of bio-oil, bio-diesel and bio-ethanol. Genetic engineering and enzyme optimization technique are being used to develop improved quality feedstocks for more efficient change and higher BTU outputs of the resulting fuel products. High-yielding, energy-dense crops can minimize relative costs associated with harvesting and transportation (per unit of energy derived), resulting in higher value fuel products.

5. Plant and Animal Reproduction
Enhancing plant and animal behavior by traditional methods like cross-pollination, grafting, and cross-breeding is time-consuming. Biotech advance let for specific changes to be made rapidly, on a molecular level through over-expression or removal of genes, or the introduction of foreign genes.
The last is possible using gene expression control mechanism such as specific gene promoters and transcription factors. Methods like marker-assisted selection improve the efficiency of “directed” animal breeding, without the controversy normally associated with GMOs. Gene cloning methods must also address species differences in the genetic code, the presence or absence of introns and post-translational modifications such as methylation.

6. Pesticide-Resistant Crops
Not to be mystified with pest-resistance, these plants are broadminded of pesticides, allow farmers to selectively kill nearby weeds with no harming their crop. The most well-known example of this is the Roundup-Ready technology, urbanized by Monsanto.

7. Nutrient Supplementation
In an attempt to get better human health, mainly in immature countries, scientists are creating hereditarily distorted foods that hold nutrients known to help fight disease or starvation. An example of this is Golden Rice, which contain beta-carotene, the forerunner for Vitamin A manufacture in our bodies. People who eat the rice create more Vitamin A, and necessary nutrient lacking in the diets of the poor in Asian countries. Three genes, two from daffodils and one from a bacterium, proficient of catalyzing four biochemical reactions, were cloned into rice to make it “golden”. The name comes from the color of the transgenic grain due to over expression of beta-carotene, which gives carrots their orange color.

8. A biotic strain confrontation
A lesser quantity of than 20% of the earth is arable land but some crops have been hereditarily altered to make them more liberal of conditions like salinity, cold and drought. The detection of genes in plants in charge for sodium uptake has lead to growth of knock-out plants able to grow in high salt environments. Up- or down-regulation of record is usually the method used to alter drought-tolerance in plants. Corn and rapeseed plants, capable to thrive under lack conditions, are in their fourth year of field trials in California and Colorado, and it is predictable that they’ll reach the marketplace in 4-5 years.

9. Manufacturing power Fibers
Spider silk is the strongest fiber known to man, stronger than kevlar (used to make bullet-proof vests), with an advanced tensile power than steel. In August 2000, Canadian company Nexia announces growth of transgenic goats that formed spider silk proteins in their milk. While this solved the trouble of mass-producing the proteins, the agenda was shelve when scientists couldn’t figure out how to spin them into fibers like spiders do. While it seem the spider silk design has been put on the shelf for the time-being, it is a technology that is sure to appear again in the future, once more information is gather on how the silks are woven.

Environmental Biotechnology
The application of Biotechnology to solve the environmental problems in the environment and in the ecosystems is called Environmental Biotechnology. It is applied and it is used to study the natural environment. According to the international Society for environmental Biotechnology the environmental Biotechnology is defined as an environment that helps to develop, efficiently use and regulate the biological systems and prevent the environment from pollution or from contamination of land, air and water have work efficiently to sustain an environment friendly Society.

There are five major different types of Applications of Environmental Biotechnology. They are as follows:
a) Biomarker:
This type of Application of environmental Biotechnology gives response to a chemical that helps to measure the level of damage caused or the exposure of the toxic or the pollution effect caused. In other word, Biomarker can also be called as the Biological markers the major use of this applications helps to relate the connection between the oils and its sources.
b) Bioenergy:
The collective purport of Biogas, biomass, fuels, and hydrogen are called the Bioenergy. The use of this application of Environment Biotechnology is in the industrial, domestic and space sectors. As per the recent need it is concluded that the need of clean energy out of these fuels and alternative ways of finding clean energy is the need of the hour. One of the pioneer examples of green energy are the wastes collected from the organic and biomass wastes; these wastes help use to over the pollution issues caused in the environment. The Biomass energy supply has become a prominent importance in every country.
c) Bioremediation:
The process of cleaning up the hazardous substances into non-toxic compounds is called the Bioremediation process. This process is majorly used for any kind of technology clean up that uses the natural microorganisms.
d) Biotransformation:
The changes that take place in the biology of the environment which are changes of the complex compound to simple non-toxic to toxic or the other way round is called the biotransformation process. It is used in the Manufacturing sector where toxic substances are converted to Bi-products.

Benefits:
The major benefits of environmental biotechnology are it helps to keep our environment safe and clean for the use of the future generations. It helps the organisms and the engineers to find useful ways of getting adapted to the changes in the environment and keep the environment clean and green. The benefit of environmental biotechnology helps us to avoid the use of hazardous pollutants and wastes that affect the natural resources and the environment. The development of the society should be done in such a way that it helps to protect our environment and also helps us to development it.
The environmental biotechnology has a role to play in the removal of the pollutants. It is becoming an advantage for the scientists and the environmentalists to find ways to convert the waste to re-useable products. The applications of environmental biotechnology are becoming a benefiting factor for the environment; the applications includes genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics, sequencing and imaging processes are providing large amounts of information and new ways to improvise the environment and protect the environment.

Bioremediation:
This deals with the problems related to the environment. The use of different types of contaminants and fungi are used to the clean the environment and it plays a very vital role to keep the pollutants away from the environment. The bacteria are considered as one of the vital microbes since they break the dead organisms or the materials into useful organic matter and nutrients. As per the research not all the contaminants can be affecting the environment can be destroyed using the process of bioremediation eg. Lead and cadmium are not the contaminants that can be decomposed by the microorganisms.
The process of Bioremediation takes place in aerobic and anaerobic conditions. When the microbes need oxygen to perform its process is in the case of aerobic condition; if they can ample amount of oxygen they’ll be able to give maximum amount of water and carbon through the conversion of contaminants and toxins. In case of anaerobic conditions the microbes perform their work without the presence of oxygen the chemical compounds present in the soil helps the anaerobic to perform its duties efficiently.

Types of Bioremediation:
a) Mycoremediation
This is a type of Bioremediation; fungi are used for the process of decontamination. The use of fungal mycelia in bioremediation is called Mycoremediation. The role of the fungus in the ecosystem is to perform the work of braking down the organic substances into much smaller and simpler materials. The mycelium helps in braking down the substances and they secrete extracellur enzymes and acids that brakes lignin and cellulose; these are building blocks of plant fiber. The key function of Mycoremediation is to target the right fungal species for a specific pollutant.

b) Phytoremediation
The direct use of the green plants and their microorganisms used to balance or decrease the contaminated soils, sludges, sediments, surface water or ground water is called Phytoremediation. As per the Ancient Greek term phyto means plant and remedian means restoring balance. This type of bioremediation explains a way of treating the environmental problems with the help of plants. The element of Phytoremediation consists of contaminated soil, water, and air which are polluted and the plants are able to contain and eliminate the metals, pesticides, solvents, explosives, crude oil.

c) Microbial Remediation
The use of microorganisms to degrade organic contaminants and to bind the use of metals in less bioavaliable form is called Microbial Remediation. When the microbes need oxygen to perform its process is in the case of aerobic condition; if they can ample amount of oxygen they will be able to give maximum amount of water and carbon through the conversion of contaminants and toxins. In case of anaerobic conditions the microbes perform their work without the presence of oxygen the chemical compounds present in the soil helps the anaerobic to perform its duties efficiently.

Animal Biotechnology
Animal biotechnology is a branch of biotechnology in which molecular biology techniques are used to genetically engineer (i.e. modify the genome of) animals in order to improve their suitability for pharmaceutical, agricultural or industrial applications. Animal biotechnology has been used to produce genetically modified animals that synthesize therapeutic proteins, have improved growth rates or are resistant to disease.
Examples of animal biotechnology include generation of transgenic animals or transgenic fish (animals or fish with one or more genes introduced by human intervention), using gene knockout technology, which creates a possible source of replacement organs for humans, to generate animals in which a specific gene has been inactivated, production of nearly identical animals by somatic cell nuclear transfer (also referred to as clones), or production of infertile aquatic species.
Advances in animal biotechnology have been facilitated by recent progress in sequencing and analyzing animal genomes, identification of molecular markers (microsatellites, expressed sequence tags [ESTs], quantitative trait loci [QTLs], etc.) and a better understanding of the mechanisms that regulate gene expression.

Transgenic animals
The nucleus of all cells in every living organism contains genes made up of DNA. These genes store information that regulates how our bodies form and function. Genes can be altered artificially, so that some characteristics of an animal are changed. For example, an embryo can have an extra, functioning gene from another source artificially introduced into it, or a gene introduced which can knock out the functioning of another particular gene in the embryo. Animals that have their DNA manipulated in this way are knows as transgenic animals.
The majority of transgenic animals produced so far are mice, the animal that pioneered the technology. The first successful transgenic animal was a mouse. A few years later, it was followed by rabbits, pigs, sheep, and cattle.
The underlying principle in the production of transgenic animals is the introduction of a foreign gene or genes into an animal (the inserted genes are called transgenes). The foreign genes “must be transmitted through the germ line, so that every cell, including germ cells, of the animal contain the same modified genetic material.”26 (Germ cells are cells whose function is to transmit genes to an organism’s offspring). To date, there are three basic methods of producing transgenic animals:
1. DNA microinjection
2. Retrovirus-mediated gene transfer
3. Embryonic stem cell-mediated gene transfer
Gene transfer by microinjection is the predominant method used to produce transgenic farm animals. Since the insertion of DNA results in a random process, transgenic animals are mated to ensure that their offspring acquire the desired transgene.
However, the success rate of producing transgenic animals individually by these methods is very low and it may be more efficient to use cloning techniques to increase their numbers. For example, gene transfer studies revealed that only 0.6% of transgenic pigs were born with a desired gene after 7,000 eggs were injected with a specific transgene.

Transgenic Animals and Human Health
a) Xenotransplantation
Patients die every year for lack of a replacement heart, liver, or kidney. For example, about 5,000 organs are needed each year in the United Kingdom alone. Transgenic pigs may provide the transplant organs needed to alleviate the shortfall. Currently, xenotransplantation is hampered by a pig protein that can cause donor rejection but research is underway to remove the pig protein and replace it with a human protein.
b) Nutritional supplements and pharmaceuticals
Products such as insulin, growth hormone, and blood anti-clotting factors may soon be or have already been obtained from the milk of transgenic cows, sheep, or goats. Research is also underway to manufacture milk through transgenesis for treatment of debilitating diseases such as phenylketonuria (PKU), hereditary emphysema, and cystic fibrosis.
In 1997, the first transgenic cow, Rosie, produced human protein-enriched milk at 2.4 grams per litre. This transgenic milk is a more nutritionally balanced product than natural bovine milk and could be given to babies or the elderly with special nutritional or digestive needs. Rosie’s milk contains the human gene alpha-lactalbumin.

c) Human gene therapy
Human gene therapy involves adding a normal copy of a gene (transgene) to the genome of a person carrying defective copies of the gene. The potential for treatments for the 5,000 named genetic diseases is huge and transgenic animals could play a role. For example, the A. I. Virtanen Institute in Finland produced a calf with a gene that makes the substance that promotes the growth of red cells in humans.

Enhancing Animal Products
a) Breeding
Farmers have always used selective breeding to produce animals that exhibit desired traits (e.g., increased milk production, high growth rate). Traditional breeding is a time-consuming, difficult task. When technology using molecular biology was developed, it became possible to develop traits in animals in a shorter time and with more precision. In addition, it offers the farmer an easy way to increase yields.

b) Quality
Transgenic cows exist that produce more milk or milk with less lactose or cholesterol, pigs and cattle that have more meat on them and sheep that grow more wool. In the past, farmers used growth hormones to spur the development of animals but this technique was problematic, especially since residue of the hormones remained in the animal product.

c) Disease resistance
Scientists are attempting to produce disease-resistant animals, such as influenza-resistant pigs, but a very limited number of genes are currently known to be responsible for resistance to diseases in farm animals.

Aquaculture
Many faster growing transgenic fish including both cold water (salmon, trout) and warm water (tilapia, carp) species have been produced. The development of transgenic fish can serve as excellent experimental models for basic scientific investigations, environmental toxicology and in biotechnological applications.
A number of fish species are in focus for gene transfer experiments and can be divided into two main groups: animals used in aquaculture and model fish used in basic research. Among the major food fish species are carp (Cyprinus sp.), tilapia (Oreochromis sp.), salmon (Salmo sp., Oncorhynchus sp.) and channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) while zebrafish (Danio rerio), medaka (Oryzias latipes) and goldfish (Carassius auratus) are used in basic research. Transgenic fish show better gross food conversion, the increase in fish weight per unit of food fed than their unmodified relatives.
The growth rate of Transgenic fish can be increased by 400% to 600% while simultaneously reducing feed input by up to 25% per unit of output, thereby improving food conversion ratios.

Food Biotechnology
Since its introduction to agriculture and food production in the early-1990’s, biotechnology has been utilized to develop new tools for improving productivity. In 2005, twenty-one countries planted biotech crops covering a total of 222 million acres. These crops include soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, papaya, and squash that are improved versions of the traditional varieties. In addition, rapid-rise yeast and an enzyme used to make cheese are both commonly produced through biotechnology.
Biotechnology is making a significant impact on food production, with great potential for future advancements. A strong regulatory system is in place in the U.S., based on the broad consensus regarding safety among the scientific community. Public debate continues, as with any new technology. Of course, consumers want to know what biotechnology will mean for the food we eat. Therefore, the international scientific community continues to assess and challenge biotechnology’s role in improving the food supply by addressing safety concerns and seeking a variety of solutions to our evolving agricultural, food production, food enjoyment, and human health needs.
Recently many advances in food industry represent great role of food biotechnology. GM plants and animals are used to enhance taste, shell life, nutrition and quality of food. On the other hand GM yeast and Bacteria are used to produce enzymes for the sake of food industry. These GM foods are produced by using biotechnological techniques specifically genetic engineering. Genetic engineering purpose is to introduce foreign gene of interest in an organism. This foreign gene introduction is for the purpose of enhancement in quality and quantity of food.
Modern Biotechnology is helpful in enhancing taste, yield, shell life and nutritive values. This is also useful in food processing (fermentation and enzyme involving processes). So Biotechnology is beneficial in erasing hunger, malnutrition and diseases from developing countries and third word. Modern biotechnology products are commercially reasonable hence it can improve agriculture as well as food industry that will result in raise in income of poor farmers.

Role of Food Biotechnology in Food Processing
1. Fermentation
Breweries are synthesized through the process of fermentation. Different yeast strains are used to make breweries at commercial level. Genetic engineering has enabled us to make light wine. Yeast is genetically modified through foreign gene encoding glucoamylase. During process of fermentation, yeast expresses glucoamylase that convert starch into glucose.

2. Enzymes
Enzymes are used in production and processing of food items specifically produced at industrial level. From second last decade of twentieth century, food processing companies are using enzymes that are produced through genetically modified organisms. These enzymes comprises of proteases and carbohydrases. Genes for these enzymes have been cloned so as to get higher production in less time period. These enzymes are used for making cheese, curd and flavoring food items. The major percentage of these enzymes is used in food industry as in US more than 50% of proteases and carbohydrases are used in food industry. These enzymes include rennin and α-amylase.
Following are some genetically modified enzymes used in food industry:
1. Catalase used in mayonnaise production and it removes hydrogen peroxide.
2. Chymosin useful in cheese production as it coagulates milk.
3. Glucose oxidase is used in baking as it stabilizes the dough.
4. α-amylase converts starch into maltose and used in baking for sweetness.
5. Protease used for meat tenderization process, baking and dairy products

1. α-amylase
This enzyme is used in the production of high fructose corn syrup (nutritive sweetener). This enzyme provides continuous process of three steps providing higher yield. Through purification this yield can be increased up to 90%.

2. Rennin (Chymosin)
The Rennin enzyme is an active component of substance rennet used in dairy industry. It is a protease enzyme used for the production of curd and cheese. This hydrolysis the peptide bond of casein proteins of milk, hence denaturing these proteins results in curd formation.
Previously this enzyme was extracted from stomach of calves and used to curdle milk. But through this conventional method, lower quantity was obtained. But now bacteria (Escherichia coli ) and fungi (Aspergillus niger ) are genetically engineered to produce rennin at commercial level.

3. Shell Life
Many juicy fruits possess short shell life. For example tomato is used all over the world. In order to be shipped, tomatoes should be picked at mature green stage. After picking, these are subjected to ethylene for ripening. Higher temperatures cause early ripening while lower temperature destroys its taste.
A Californian company named Calgene genetically engineered tomato to sort out this problem. They developed a tomato named Flavr Savr tomato. An enzyme named polygalacturonase breaks down pectin causing ripening and softening. Scientists genetically modified tomatoes to reduce amount of this enzyme. They used antisense RNA for this purpose. Low amount of this enzyme results in lower breakdown of pectin and cell wall resulting in firmer tomatoes. These firmer Flavr Savr tomatoes possess longer shell life and hence support shipping.

Applications of biotechnology in healthcare
The healthcare sector, which includes diagnostic systems and innovative therapies, constitutes the leading segment of the whole biotechnological industry on an international level.
In the last decades, the use of biotech in medicine has led to a series of important developments in several fields.

1. Therapy
The recombinant human insulin produced by genetically modified bacteria was the first biotech drug (1982). Since then, the use of biotechnology has led to the marketing of nearly 200 biotechnology products, including drugs, vaccines and advanced therapies, which together represent 40% of those registered. About 50% of all new drugs and therapies in development for the foreseeable future will originate from biotechnology, and the proportion is growing in the most innovative treatments such as vaccines, monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases/infectious diseases, cell therapy, gene therapy and regenerative medicine.

2. Diagnostics
Today for many diseases people can make an early diagnosis in time to locate and treat them with highly specific methods. Thanks to biotechnology it had been possible to develop techniques such as PCR, which allowed the immediate identification of the presence of viral DNA in the infected patient. Other biotechnology techniques, such as ASO, FRET and OLA, are used by laboratories around the world to identify mutations in the genome, confirming the suspicions of a certain disease or making a definite clinical diagnosis.

3. Nanobiotechnology
In the development of increasingly targeted and effective products, the convergence of nanotechnology and biotechnology is a powerful tool available to researchers in the diagnosis and treatment of a large number of diseases, in the development of means for the controlled release of drugs and in the field of biomaterials with a variety of applications in the life sciences and in the engineering of connective tissues of the human body, until the realization of the vital organs (eg regenerative medicine). The nanobiotech is a highly multidisciplinary field of investigation, involving fields of research ranging from molecular biology to chemistry, materials science to physics, both applied and basic, to engineering mechanics and electronics.

4. Cosmetics
Between the healthcare and wellness, there are many uses of molecular biology in cosmetics: hyaluronic acid and other fillers commonly used are in fact biotech-sourced. In particular, the new frontier of anti-aging has been disclosed with the advent of natural active ingredients modified with biotechnology, often extracted according to the so-called biocorrelation systems, which allow you to make the most of the active ingredients with no waste, saving trees and plants.
5. Gene therapy
Gene therapy is the insertion of genes into an individual’s cells and tissues to treat a disease, and hereditary diseases in which a defective mutant allele is replaced with a functional one. Although the technology is still in its infancy, it has been used with some success.
Antisense therapy is not strictly a form of gene therapy, but is a genetically-mediated therapy and is often considered together with other methods. In most gene therapy studies, a “normal” gene is inserted into the genome to replace an “abnormal,” disease-causing gene. A carrier called a vector must be used to deliver the therapeutic gene to the patient’s target cells.
Currently, the most common type of vectors are viruses that have been genetically altered to carry normal human DNA. Viruses have evolved a way of encapsulating and delivering their genes to human cells in a pathogenic manner.
Scientists have tried to harness this ability by manipulating the viral genome to remove disease-causing genes and insert therapeutic ones. Target cells such as the patient’s liver or lung cells are infected with the vector. The vector then unloads its genetic material containing the therapeutic human gene into the target cell. The generation of a functional protein product from the therapeutic gene restores the target cell to a normal state.
All gene therapy to date on humans has been directed at somatic cells, whereas germline engineering in humans remains controversial. For the introduced gene to be transmitted normally to offspring, it needs not only to be inserted into the cell, but also to be incorporated into the chromosomes by genetic recombination.

Using natural products as therapeutics
A large number of currently prescribed drugs have been either directly derived from or inspired by natural products. Some of the oldest natural product based drugs are analgesics. The bark of the willow tree has been known from antiquity to have pain relieving properties. This is due to presence of the natural product salicin which in turn may be hydrolyzed into salicylic acid.
A synthetic derivative acetylsalicylic acid better known as aspirin is a widely used pain reliever. Its mechanism of action is inhibition of the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme. Another notable example is opium is extracted from the latex from Papaver somniferous (a flowering poppy plant). The most potent narcotic component of opium is the alkaloid morphine which acts as an opioid receptoragonist.[61] A more recent example is the N-type calcium channel blocker ziconotide analgesic which is based on a cyclic peptide cone snail toxin (ω-conotoxin MVIIA) from the species Conus magus.
A significant number of anti-infectives are based on natural products. The first antibiotic to be discovered, penicillin, was isolated from the mold Penicillium. Penicillin and related beta lactams work by inhibiting DD-transpeptidase enzyme that is required by bacteria to cross link peptidoglycan to form the cell wall.
Several natural product drugs target tubulin, which is a component of the cytoskeleton. These include the tubulin polymerization inhibitor colchicine isolated from the Colchicum autumnale (autumn crocus flowering plant), which is used to treat gout. Paclitaxel is based on the terpenoid natural product taxol, which is isolated from Taxus brevifolia (the pacific yew tree).

Replacing Missing Proteins
Researchers have demonstrated that a small molecule can transport iron in human cells and live animals when proteins that normally do the same job are missing, a condition that often causes severe anemia in patients. Such “molecular prosthetics” might treat a host of incurable diseases caused by protein deficiencies, such as anemias, cystic fibrosis or certain types of heart disease.
In a healthy system, transport proteins move iron across cell membranes to uptake iron from the gut or make hemoglobin for red blood cells. But when the transport protein is missing, iron can’t cross the membrane, causing anemia. The researchers found that three hinokitiol molecules can wrap around an iron atom and transport it directly across the membrane where the missing protein should be.
The researchers tested hinokitiol in mice, rats and zebrafish that were missing iron-transport proteins. They found that orally administered hinokitiol restored iron uptake in the guts of mice and rats, and that simply adding it to the tank of anemic zebrafish prompted hemoglobin production. They also found that it restored iron transport in human cells taken from the lining of the gut.
These findings suggest that replacing missing proteins with molecular-scale prosthetics may represent a general way to think about treating a wide range of human diseases that have thus far remained out of reach with traditional medicine.

Stimulating the Immune System
Imunotherapies have been taking the biotech world by storm. Among these are cancer vaccines, which are directed at solid tumors and aim to boost patients’ immune systems to fight cancer.
One of the cancer vaccine platforms is IVAC (Individualized Vaccines Against Cancer) MUTANOME, where patient’s tumors are sequenced to identify neoantigens, which are then incorporated into an mRNA-based vaccine.
Another example is the mRNA-based approach to the clinic.
TheraT, Hookipa’s cancer vaccine platform, uses genetic engineering to integrate an antigen of choice into their arenavirus platform. This technology provokes an antigen-specific T-cell response. This is important, he adds, because one of the issues checkpoint inhibitors face is that even through the cancer’s defences are lowered, in many patients, T cells don’t infiltrate the tumor. Cancer vaccines like Hookipa’s can turn these “cold” tumors “hot,” allowing the immune cells to reach and destroy the cancer.
Hookipa’s HB-201 works by delivering a combination of antigens, E6 and E7. The compound is currently in preclinical trials.

Xenotransplantation
Xenotransplantation is any procedure that involves the transplantation, implantation or infusion into a human recipient of either (a) live cells, tissues, or organs from a nonhuman animal source, or (b) human body fluids, cells, tissues or organs that have had ex vivo contact with live nonhuman animal cells, tissues or organs. The development of xenotransplantation is, in part, driven by the fact that the demand for human organs for clinical transplantation far exceeds the supply.
Although the potential benefits are considerable, the use of xenotransplantation raises concerns regarding the potential infection of recipients with both recognized and unrecognized infectious agents and the possible subsequent transmission to their close contacts and into the general human population. Of public health concern is the potential for cross-species infection by retroviruses, which may be latent and lead to disease years after infection. Moreover, new infectious agents may not be readily identifiable with current techniques.

Biopolymers
Biopolymers are polymers that occur in nature. Carbohydrates and proteins, for example, are biopolymers. Many biopolymers are already being produced commercially on large scales, although they usually are not used for the production of plastics. Even if only a small percentage of the biopolymers already being produced were used in the production of plastics, it would significantly decrease our dependence on manufactured, non-renewable resources.
A number of natural materials can be made into polymers that are biodegradable. For example lactic acid is now commercially produced on large scales through the fermentation of sugar feedstocks obtained from sugar beets or sugar cane, or from the conversion of starch from corn, potato peels, or other starch source. It can be polymerized to produce poly(lactic acid), which is already finding commercial applications in drug encapsulation and biodegradable medical devices. Triglycerides can also be polymerized. Triglycerides make up a large part of the storage lipids in animal and plant cells. Over sixteen billion pounds of vegetable oils are produced in the United States each year, mainly from soybean, flax, and rapeseed. Triglycerides are another promising raw material for producing plastics
There is a wide range of application of biopolymers in medicine which include tissue engineering, wound healing, controlled release of drugs, post surgical treatments, etc. Their application in tissue engineering is mainly due to certain desirable qualities such as suitable surface morphology, mechanical properties, ease in processability and tailorability, degradability, etc. In the field of wound healing the traditional, less effective methods are being replaced by the use of biopolymeric scaffolds which are based on naturally occurring hyaluronic acid thus making it highly biocompatible. Similarly in the area of controlled release of drugs, for beneficial effects to occur, biopolymers are being employed in the form of gels which has yielded desirable results. Also for effective administration of hydrophobic drugs, biopolymers are used as an encapsulation to aid its proper dispersal. The traditional suturing materials require to be removed as they are not degradable or easily accepted by body cells. So to overcome these limitations biopolymeric materials especially shape memory polymers are used. They are very simple to use and make it possible to conduct modern keyhole surgeries, with almost no blood loss.

Personalised Medicine
Personalized medicine, also termed precision medicine, is a medical procedure that separates patients into different groups—with medical decisions, practices, interventions and/or products being tailored to the individual patient based on their predicted response or risk of disease. The terms personalized medicine, precision medicine, stratified medicine and P4 medicine are used interchangeably to describe this concept though some authors and organisations use these expressions separately to indicate particular nuances.
The term has risen in usage in recent years given the growth of new diagnostic and informatics approaches that provide understanding of the molecular basis of disease, particularly genomics. This provides a clear evidence base on which to stratify (group) related patients.
Having an individual’s genomic information can be significant in the process of developing drugs as they await approval from the FDA for public use. Having a detailed account of an individual’s genetic make-up can be a major asset in deciding if a patient can be chosen for inclusion or exclusion in the final stages of a clinical trial. Being able to identify patients who will benefit most from a clinical trial will increase the safety of patients from adverse outcomes caused by the product in testing, and will allow smaller and faster trials that lead to lower overall costs. In addition, drugs that are deemed ineffective for the larger population can gain approval by the FDA by using personal genomes to qualify the effectiveness and need for that specific drug or therapy even though it may only be needed by a small percentage of the population.
Today in medicine, it is common that physicians often use a trial and error strategy until they find the treatment therapy that is most effective for their patient. With personalised medicine, these treatments can be more specifically tailored to an individual and give insight into how their body will respond to the drug and if that drug will work based on their genome. The personal genotype can allow physicians to have more detailed information that will guide them in their decision in treatment prescriptions, which will be more cost-effective and accurate.

Regenerative medicine
Regenerative medicine is a branch of translational research in tissue engineering and molecular biology which deals with the “process of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function”

Tissue engineering
Tissue engineering is the use of a combination of cells, engineering and materials methods, and suitable biochemical and physicochemical factors to improve or replace biological tissues. Tissue engineering involves the use of a scaffold for the formation of new viable tissue for a medical purpose. While it was once categorized as a sub-field of biomaterials, having grown in scope and importance it can be considered as a field in its own.
While most definitions of tissue engineering cover a broad range of applications, in practice the term is closely associated with applications that repair or replace portions of or whole tissues (i.e., bone, cartilage, blood vessels, bladder, skin, muscle etc.). Often, the tissues involved require certain mechanical and structural properties for proper functioning. The term has also been applied to efforts to perform specific biochemical functions using cells within an artificially-created support system (e.g. an artificial pancreas, or a bio artificial liver). The term regenerative medicine is often used synonymously with tissue engineering, although those involved in regenerative medicine place more emphasis on the use of stem cells or progenitor cells to produce tissues.

Vaccines
A vaccine is a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism, and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins or one of its surface proteins. The agent stimulates the body’s immune system to recognize the agent as foreign, destroy it, and “remember” it, so that the immune system can more easily recognize and destroy any of these microorganisms that it later encounters.
Biotechnology in Vaccines
Biotechnology is used in three different ways in the development of vaccine:
1. Separation of a pure antigen using a specific monoclonal antibody.
2. Synthesis of an antigen with the help of a cloned gene.
3. Synthesis of peptides to be used as vaccines.
4. Use of monoclonal antibodies for immunopurification of antigens
The method of immunopurification using monoclonal antibodies is used, to separate specific antigen from a mixture of very similar antigens. Once purified, the antigen is used for developing vaccine against a pathogen. Individual interferons (which have the property of inhibiting viral infection and cell proliferation) have been purified using this technique. These interferons were later used for clinical trials and then commercially used.
Hundreds of genes in eukaryotes have been cloned from genomic DNA or from cDNA. These clones genes included a number of genes for specific antigens and some have been used for the synthesis of antigens leading to the preparation of vaccines. A very good example of this is cloning of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) genome. The HBV genome was cloned in the plasmid pBR322 followed by it’s propagation in E.coli. The antigens produced from this clone reacted with hepatitis B core antibody (HBAb) which has been used to produce hepatitis B vaccine.
Vaccines can also be prepared through short synthetic peptide chains. There are several ways by which these can be used as vaccines. As it is the three dimensional structure (not the amino acid sequence) of the protein which is responsible for the immunogenic response, it is essential to find out the protein region involved in immunogenic response
The immunogenic region of protein can also be located by gene coding for the protein. In Feline leukaemia virus, the clone gene of an immunogenic protein was cut into fragments by DNAase I and then cloned in lambda phage. Phage colonies (plaques) with different cloned fragments are screened with a specific monoclonal antibody that neutralizes the pathogen. The fragments which react with antibody must be synthesizing the immunogenic peptide fragments which can be sequenced.
The immunogenic region of a protein in a pathogen can also be identified by eluting it from purified major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules. Different MHC allelic variants bind with different proteins and purified using specific T cells. Peptides can be eluted from these purified MHC molecules and later on sequenced. The sequenced peptides are used to make synthetic peptides which are used as vaccines.

Vaccine Delivery Systems
Delivery of antigens from oil-based adjuvants such as Freunds adjuvant leads to a reduction in the number of doses of vaccine to be administered but due to toxicity concerns like inductions of granulomas at the injection site, such adjuvants are not widely used. FDA approved adjuvants for human uses are aluminium hydroxide and aluminium phosphate in the form of alum. Hence, search for safer and potent adjuvants resulted in the formulation of antigen into delivery systems that administer antigen in particulate form rather than solution form.
Other reasons driving the development of vaccines as controlled drug delivery systems are as follows:
1. Immunization failure with conventional immunization regimen involving prime doses and booster doses, as patients neglect the latter.
2. Vaccines delivery systems on the other hand:
3. Allow for the incorporation of doses of antigens so that booster doses are no longer necessary as antigens are released slowly in a controlled manner.
4. Control the spatial and temporal presentation of antigens to the immune system thereby promoting their targeting straight to the immune cells.

Vaccine delivery systems can be classified as follows
Solid particulates
Solid particulate systems such as microspheres and lipospheres are being exploited for vaccine delivery based on the fact that intestine is an imperfect barrier to small particulates. Antigens entrapped in such particulates when taken up by M-cells can generate immunity.
Methods such as light microscopy, confocal microscopy, electron microscopy, extraction of polymer from tissue followed by quantification by gel permeation chromatography, flow cytometry[2] indicated that microparticulates of <10 μm in diameter can enter gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) within 1 h of oral administration and can be used as antigen carriers for controlled release vaccine applications.
Particle size is an important consideration while formulating microparticulate systems as it influences their uptake and release and hence immune responses. Small (<10 μm) microspheres due to their large surface to mass ratio, are capable of facilitating extracellular delivery of antigen to the phagocytic accessor cells leading to faster release and increased antigen processing. Larger particles could not be phagocytosed by macrophages until they have disintegrated into smaller debris. A combination of larger and smaller particles might produce a pulsatile pattern for antigen release thus mimicking an immunization process involving prime and booster shots.

Industrial applications of biotechnology
Industrial biotechnology involves the use of enzymes and microorganisms to produce value-added chemicals from renewable sources. Because of its association with reduced energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste generation, industrial biotechnology is a rapidly growing field. Here we highlight a variety of important tools for industrial biotechnology, including protein engineering, metabolic engineering, synthetic biology, systems biology, and downstream processing. In addition, we show how these tools have been successfully applied in several case studies, including the production of 1,3-propanediol, lactic acid, and biofuels. It is expected that industrial biotechnology will be increasingly adopted by chemical, pharmaceutical, food, and agricultural industries.
Industrial biotechnology, also known as white biotechnology, is the application of modern biotechnology to the sustainable production of chemicals, materials, and fuels from renewable sources, using living cells and/or their enzymes. This field is widely regarded as the third wave of biotechnology, distinct from the first two waves (medical or red biotechnology and agricultural or green biotechnology). Much interest has been generated in this field mainly because industrial biotechnology is often associated with reduced energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste generation, and also may enable the para
The fundamental force that drives the development and implementation of industrial biotechnology is the market economy, as biotechnology promises highly efficient processes at lower operating and capital expenditures. In addition, political and societal demands for sustainability and environment-friendly industrial production systems, coupled with the depletion of crude oil reserves, and a growing world demand for raw materials and energy, will continue to drive this trend forward.
One of the most important tools for industrial biotechnology is protein engineering. More often than not, a wild-type enzyme discovered in nature is not suitable for an industrial process. There is a need to engineer and optimize enzyme performance in terms of activity, selectivity on non-natural substrates, thermostability, tolerance toward organic solvents, enantioselectivity, and substrate/ product inhibition in order for the enzymatic process to be commercially viable.
An equally important tool for industrial biotechnology is metabolic engineering. By manipulation of enzymatic, transport, and regulatory functions in the cell, metabolic engineering redirects precursor metabolic fluxes, changes protein cellular levels fine-tunes gene expression, and controls gene expression regulation in microorganism hosts such as E. coli.
While protein and metabolic engineering have led to significant advances in industrial biotechnology, an emerging area of synthetic biology, in which basic genetic parts and modules are integrated into a synthetic biological circuit, holds significant promises to the understanding, design, and construction of customized gene expression networks. Scientists are attempting to create de novo genomes in synthetic microorganisms which are easier to understand and manipulate compared to those available in nature [33]. A recent example of this approach is the assembly of a synthetic genome of Mycoplasma genitalium.

Biocatalysts
Biocatalysis can be defined as the use of natural substances to speed up (or catalyze) chemical reactions. The natural substances of which I speak can be one or more enzymes or cells. An enzyme is simply a protein catalyst, and enzymes have many important uses. Every reaction in your any living thing, yourself included, proceeds thanks to the presence of enzymes. Enzymes help you digest food, produce vital nutrients, move muscles, and do just about everything else you can think of. Enzymes are also used in daily life daily to improve the performance of detergents (“protein gets out protein”), make beer and wine, process food, allow diagnostic laboratories to tell you what is wrong with you, and many other tasks that seem to happen automatically every day.
The chemical reactions that one typically thinks of as being enzyme-catalyzed are biologically-related ones. Thus, biocatalysis includes the one-step enzymatic conversion to produce aspartic acid (a component of the non-caloric sweetener aspartame), the two-step oxidation of ethanol to acetic acid (vinegar can be made this way), and the multi-step brewing of beer (quite likely the oldest example of biocatalysis, with historical records dating back 6000 years!). But, biocatalysis can also be used to replace many traditional chemical catalysts, including catalysts that are toxic or contain chemical residues that pollute the environment.
The impact of biocatalysis in the future will be precisely this: the increasing ability to use enzymes to catalyze chemical reactions in industrial processes, including the production of drug substances, flavors, fragrances, electronic chemicals, polymers—chemicals that literally impact almost every facet of your life. In adopting biocatalysis as a mainstream technology for chemical production, we will be introducing a technology that is greener, reduces pollution and cost, and creates greater sustainability.

Environmental monitoring
Environmental Monitoring is an essential part of any pharmaceutical, medical device or biotechnology manufacturing process in order to show that the microbial and particulate content of all clean room air and work surfaces is below acceptable levels.
Once the results of tests are validated, reports can be generated very quickly and easily, including trend plots filtered by selectable fields, without passing the information to a separate, non-validated spreadsheet programme. Possible trend plots include: for a specific room (CE) over a chosen time, for a specific batch/lot, or by microbiologist to identify training needs, and many more related fields.

Green Plastics
Biodegradable plastics are plastics that are decomposed by the action of living organisms, usually bacteria. Two basic classes of biodegradable plastics exist: Bioplastics, whose components are derived from renewable raw materials, and plastics made from petrochemicals containing biodegradable additives which enhance biodegradation.
While aromatic polyesters are almost totally resistant to microbial attack, most aliphatic polyesters are biodegradable due to their potentially hydrolysable ester bonds.
Naturally Produced: Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) like the poly-3-hydroxybutyrate (PHB), polyhydroxyvalerate (PHV) and polyhydroxyhexanoate (PHH).
Under proper conditions, some biodegradable plastics can degrade to the point where microorganisms can completely metabolise them to carbon dioxide (and water). For example, starch-based bioplastics produced from sustainable farming methods could be almost carbon neutral.
There are allegations that Biodegradable plastic bags may release metals, and may require a great deal of time to degrade in certain circumstances and that OBD plastics may produce tiny fragments of plastic that do not continue to degrade at any appreciable rate regardless of the environment.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *