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The Evolution of food Biotechnology

December 2, 2020

Due to the rise in the demand for food and food products globally, scientists around the world have been searching possible ways to increase crop yields and enhance nutritional value and taste, while protecting the environment by reducing the use of chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides. This is where the biotechnology arises into the picture by aiming to provide the technologies necessary to achieve those ends. The term food biotechnology covers the traditional techniques of plant breeding, animal husbandry and fermentation, which can trace their roots back thousands of years.

Food Biotechnology from Traditional to Modern

Food biotechnology is not a latest concept where it has been already employed long ago even before the term itself was coined. During the past era, people have been manipulating biology to make food products such as beer, bread, cheese and wine. As an example, around 6000 B.C itself people had learnt the method of fermenting fruit juices to concoct alcoholic beverages.

Traditionally, the most common technique of food biotechnology is the method in which seeds from the maximum yielding and best tasting crops are planted in each successive year, resulting in progressively better yields. About decades ago, the process of obtaining the best traits in food products became much easier with the introduction of gene cloning and genetic engineering in modern food biotechnology. In present, scientists transfer and alter the genes which can remove certain genetic characteristics from a given food to another kind of food based on their genetic codes in order to produce the food with enrich in essential nutrients, to make more resistant to diseases, drought, salt and heat tolerance, etc.

Food Biotechnology provides a safer plant breeding since single genes can be transferred without moving thousands, making it likely to recognize those defective genes which may be harmful or toxic. There are various benefits from Bioengineered foods such as nutrition enhancement, safety, better yield and reduced need for chemical insecticides. Crops include soybeans, corn, cotton, canola and papaya that are improved versions of the traditional varieties.

“Food biotechnology is one of the effective route to improve the global health via better nutrition and enabled to increase the yields of small farmers and lift them out of hunger and poverty”