You are on page 1of 7


Biotechnology is broadly defined as any technique that uses live organisms viz. bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast, animal cells, plant cells etc. to make or modify a product, to improve plants or animals or to engineer micro-organisms for specific uses. It encompasses genetic engineering, inclusive of enzyme and protein engineering plant and animal tissue culture technology, biosensors for biological monitoring, bioprocess and fermentation technology. Biotechnology is essentially and interdisciplinary are consisting of biochemistry, molecular chemistry, molecular and microbiology, genetics and immunology etc. it is concerned with upgradation of quality and also utilization of livestock and resources for the well being of both animals and plants.

Biotechnology In The Field Of Agriculture

Modern biotechnology holds considerable promise to meet challenges in agricultural production. It makes use of life sciences, chemical sciences and engineering sciences in achieving and improving the technological applications of the capabilities of the living organism of their derivates to make products of value to man and society. It is used in living systems to develop commercial processes and products which also includes the techniques of Recombinant DNA, gene transfer, embryo manipulation, plant regeneration, cell culture, monoclonal antibodies and bio-processed engineering. These techniques can transform ideas into practical applications, viz, certain crops can be genetically altered to increase their tolerance to certain herbicides. Biotechnology can be used to develop safer vaccines against viral and bacterial diseases. It also offers new ideas and techniques applicable to agriculture and also develops a better understanding of living systems of our environment and ourselves. It has a tremendous potential fir improving crop production, animal agriculture and bioprocessing. New approaches in biotechnology can develop high yielding and more nutritious crop varieties, improve resistance to disease and also reduce the need for fertilizer and other expensive agricultural chemicals. It could also improve forestry and its products, fibre crops and chemical feedstocks. Plant biotechnologies an play a key role in the massive production of improved crop varieties (through in vitro tissue culture followed by clonal propagation), as well as in their genetic improvement. They can also help in propagating plant species which contain useful and biologically active substances, eg., food additive, pigment, pharmaceuticals, biopesticides, etc. Organ tissue and cell culture could be more efficient than conventional extraction.

Biotechnology helps to isolate the gene, study its function and regulation, modify the gene and reintroduce it into its natural host of another organism. It help unlocking the secrets of diseases resistance, regulates growth and development or manipulates communication among cells and among other organisms. It is a comparatively new technique and is used in the field of agriculture and horticulture. This mainly involves manipulation in the genetic code (which includes processes like gene transfer), tissue culture, monoclonal antibody preparation protoplast fusion. These processes help in increasing yield, producing better quality products both in plants and animals, increasing resistance to pests and herbicides, micro propagation in several crops etc. are some of the advantages of using biotechnological methods. TIFAC has undertaken Techno-market studies in the past on the biotechnology applications in the fields of Horticulture and Floriculture. This study is based on intensive desk studies and field survey concerning scanning of the available literature on the subject from diverse sources viz libraries, Agricultural Research Institute, Universities etc. SCOPE AND COVERAGE Taking into consideration the studies already conducted by TIFAC, the prime objectives of the survey are:- Identification of technology areas for further development - Identification of optimum technologies for the country in selected areas. - Development of implementation action plan including identification of agencies. - Development of technology assessment capabilities in the country. This update study has aimed at making an objective assessment of the present update studies for filing the gaps and updating the same. OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY 1. Relationship and importance of the specific topic to the broad area to which it belongs. 2. The current status of the technology in the world and in the country. Market (domestic and export) sizes and their potentials. 3. Assessment of the technology, resource parameters such as energy, raw materials, infrastructure and manpower etc. to arrive at preferred technology options available to the country. 4. Short term and long term economic aspects of preferred options alongwith their feasibility. 5. Impact of the preferred options by itself and its spin offs. 6. Recommendations a) For implementation of preferred technology options, identify, critical inputs such as raw material, capital goods and human resources required and their availability, investments required to commercialize, and benefits/ returns expected. Maximum possible quantification is required. b) For Research and development / technology development identify the requirements of inputs and expected benefits. 7. Action plan implementation of recommendations alongwith identification of a) List of available technologies for Indian industry and b) The agencies / groups / individuals for implementation 8. Expected impact of recommendations, if implemented. METHODOLOGY The desk study was largely based on secondary data obtained through scanning of available

literature on the subject from various libraried and institutes. Various magazines, newspapers, journals etc. were consulted. Interviews and group discussions with knowledgeable people in this field was conducted to know the recent status of technology in India and abroad. The relevant data from various sources has been collected and the updated report has been compiled with due consideration to the studies already carried out and the thrust areas identified in the earlier studies. The list of various published sources of information that have been referred to in the text and made use of in developing the contents of this report have been listed in Annexure -1. a bibliography of connected literature on the subject is given in Annexure II. The field study consisted of visiting research laboratories like IARI, CBT, MEF etc. to know the various procedures followed to put the various theories of biotechnology to practical use. Efforts were made to analyse the status of various biotechnological techniques, which have recently come into commercial application or are in pilot stage. Field study also consisted of writing letters to the concerned people who are practically using biotechnological processes or are involved in development of new technologies. Studies were done to know the economic viability of the technologies used abroad when applied to the Indian context. The economic aspects to the extent possible have also been incorporated. The organizations contacted for obtaining the relevant information of the subjects is given in Annexure III. OBSERVATIONS AND FINDINGS The main observations and findings of the study are: - Use of biotechnology in agricultural products, except in case of biofetilizers & biogas generation, is in its infancy stage. - Many of the biotechnological investigation under intrinsic investigations and being pursued vigorously in various institutes have yielded encouraging results on laboratory scale. These have, however, to be tested at the field level. The aim of agricultural and plant biotechnologies are: - rapid multiplication of useful micro-organisms, - micro propagation of plants, - production of diagnostic tools for the identification of plant disease and detection of contaminants, - Introduction of genetic mapping technologies and more efficient systems of plant germplasm preservation, - Genetically engineer plants i.e., alter their basic structure which have now new characteristic to improve the efficiency of crop production. The goal of all the above is to produce more and better crops at lower cost. The technologies used in agriculture and horticulture are DNA manipulation, Tissue Culture, Gene Transfer, Biofertilisers. i) Recombinant DNA manipulation technology is the construction of a stretch of DNA sequence consisting of components derived from different sources. ii) Gene transfer technology is the ability to identify a particular gene one that encodes a desired trait in an organism. The gene transfer technology is to locate the relevant gene(s) among the tens of thousands that make up the genome. This is done by reducing the lengths of an organisms genomic DNA equivalent to one or several genes. These smaller segments can be stored and then cloned to produce a quantity of genetic material for further analysis. Cloned genes are necessary research tools for studies of the structure, function and expression of the genes. They are also used as diagnostic test probes in medicine and agriculture to detect specific diseases. The transfer of genes from one organism to another is a natural process that creates variation in biological traits. It under lies all attempts to improve agricultural species whether through traditional agricultural breeding or through the techniques of molecular biology. The molecular biological methods of gene transfer alleviate the process to manipulated one gene at a time. They can also control the way in which these genes express themselves in the new variety of plant and animal. This can shorten the time required to develop new varieties and give greater precision. This can also be used to exchange genes.

III) Tissue Culture is the science of cultivating animal/ plant tissue in a prepared medium. Technologies based on this can be harnessed to achieve crop improvement objectives. The application of tissue culture are in the filed of multiplying bamboos, mass multiplication, micro propagation etc. - Multiplication of bamboos. In general, it takes a long period to flower in bamboos. It has been reported that bamboos can be induced to flower in tissue culture in relatively lesser time. This opens up vast possibilities of selective breeding of improved bamboo varieties and thus replacing the vegetative propagation by speed propagation. - Mass multiplication is carried out with a number of ornamental and field crops which have shown that the use of this fully mechanized procedure of multiplication, distribution and transfer is suited to commercial micropropagation. - Micropropagation has been carried out in several crop which include, potato, sweet potato, yams, garlic, lime, banana, pineapple and papaya; spices including ginger, small cardamom, turmeric, black pepper and several aromatic and medicinal plants such as sarpgandha and antamul. Elite genotypes of banana, papaya, coconut, small cardamom and oil palm have been multiplied on a commercial scale by private seed companies. Micropropagation of ornamental plants such as gladioli, orchids and bougainvillea which have tremendous export value has been achieved. Tissue culture technology is the most disseminated. These techniques have been known in India since the thirties. Indian Scientists are well recognized internationally for the significant contribution they have made in the development in this field. Among the tissue culture techniques, plant-propagation is the only area of biotechnology commercially exploited in India. Massive multiplication of plants have been conducted by private companies since the middle sixties. The recent Indian economical policies have favoured the development of agroindustries, including biotechnological companies. Since 1992, emerging private companies have successfully multiplied hundreds of thousands of ornamental plants for both the local and international markets. iii) Biofertilisers Certain micro-organisms and minute plants which can absorb gaseous nitrogen and phosphorous directly from the atmosphere and make it available to the plants can be identified, multiplied in the laboratories and introduced into the root zone of crop plants to supply nitrogen and phosphorous. Materials containing such organisms are called biofertilisers. Some of the biofertiliser are Rhizobium, Azotobacter, Azispir illiumm Blue-green algae, Azolla etc. WORLD SCENARIO In world scenario immunization of seeds and predators and production of pharmaceuticals are covered in the countries like America,China, Philippines, Madagascar, Australia. Successful immunization of cucumber seedlings against the Anthracnose fungus have been achieved. And the acquired immunity can be extended to predators as well. Approximately 119 pure chemical substance extracted from higher plants were used in medicine throughout the world. The market potential for herbal drugs in the Western world could range from Rs. 186.20 billion in the next ten years to Rs. 1,786 billion by the year 2000 if the AIDS epidemic continued unchecked. Utilization of plant biotechnologies for the production of pharmaceuticals, however, faced certain problems like rare occurrences of highly productive cell lines, difficulty in including the cells to produce the desired compound, vulnerability of slow- growing tissue to bacterial and fungal infections, laborious excretion between different genes and general shuffling of chromosomes. In Philippines, intensive work has been done on identification of medicinal plants where new medicines processing factory has been setup based on more than 300 identified medicinal plants. Similarly nearly 40, 000 different kinds of traditional plant drugs have been produced in 57 factories. Commercial usefulness of medicinal plants can be illustrated by Catharanthus roseus which has been widely grown on commercial scale in Madagascar and is even exported. Many new products like human and veterinary vaccines, chemicals and pharmaceuticals have been extensively developed in Australia.

Hairy root culture, derived from callus tissue, infected by Agrobacterium rhizogenes, gives a natural defence against infection and considerable work has been done on this. Application of biotechnology in crop improvement is noteworthy. The example of which are: - improved malting quality of barley by gene transfer, Finland; - insect resistant plant seeds by transgenesis, California; - mass test tube reproduction of genetically improved banana plants, St.Paulo; - genetic engineering of cut flowers (pink to white chrysanthemum), Netherlands; - herbicide resistant crop (engineered plants) to resist the toxic effect of weed killer. Indian scenario is also studded with examples of several ongoing biotechnology research projects viz., genetic changes in the Indian mustard, genetic diversity in some indica cultivators, production of rice hybrid tolerant to saline conditions using tissue culture, wide hybridization and use of pollen as a system for screening disease resistance, development of chickpea strains with improved acronomic traits etc. Commercial application of the results however has yet to wait till such time the elaborate fields tests are undertaken, results calibrated and processes standardized. Setting up of national Gene Banks with the objective of conserving species of medicinal and aromatic plants under endangered/threatened categories is an important developed. Some of the achievements include the procedures for isolation of BT plasmid DNA, preparation of plasmid DNA library, probing of ICP gene and purification of toxic crystal protein from Bacillus cultures which have been standardized. </p> PREFERRED OPTIONS The technologies suitable in the Indian context have been discussed in the report. These are:i) Recombinant DNA manipulation technology is the construction of a strech of DNA sequence consisting of components derived from different sources. ii) Gene transfer technology is the ability to identify a particular gene- one that encodes a desired trait in an organism. iii) Tissue Culture is the science of cultivating animal/ plant tissue in a prepared medium. Technologies based on this can be harnessed to achieve crop improvement objectives. The application of tissue culture are in the filed of multiplying bamboos, mass multiplication, micropropagation etc. iv) Biofertilisers: Certain micro-organisms and minute plants which can absorb gaseous nitrogen and phosphorous directly from the atmosphere and make it available to the plants can be identified, multiplied in the laboratories and introduced into the root zone of crop plants to supply sitrogen and phosphorous. Materials containing such organisms are called biofertilisers. Some of the biofertlisers are Rhizobium, Azotobacter, Azispirillium, Blue-green algae, Azolla etc. RECOMMENDATIONS The thrust areas of research and development of techniques include: - Production of micro-insecticides, applications of the fungal insecticides, testing and evaluation in appropriate socio-economic, situations, formulation and application methods for various agrosystems, catabolic systems inherent in microbial groups specifically in the context of metabolism of environmentally important chemicals, metabolic diversity exhibited by micro organisms when oxygen is not available, inoculation for bio-contained systems, biotransformation of contaminants in multiple phase system. ACTION PLAN a) Since many of the biotechnology principles are at an experimental level but have great potential for increasing production in agriculture and allied sector, there is pressing need for the testing the successful techniques in the laboratories for application on a larger scale to establish their applicability at the commercial level.

b) Techno-Economic Feasibility studies of specific proposals have to be taken up. c) Pilot projects in selected thrust areas needed to be tested. d) There is further scope for appropriate R&D support, trained manpower, and education of farmers. Entrepreneurs in the use of technology. e) There is need for trained manpower base. Biotechnology manpower development has to be regarded as a sub-system of the Science & Technology manpower system and; f) In order to stimulate academic research an innovation oriented programme aiming at the protection and stimulation of fundamental research in biotechnological disciplines, the creation of an infrastructure fit to bridge the gap between the scientific community and industry.

Biotechnology In the Field Of Medicines

The use of biotechnology in the medical field is referred to as red biotechnology. Red biotechnology is divided into sectors: biopharmaceuticals, gene therapy, genetic testing, and pharmacogenomics. Each sector of red biotechnology helps to improve the quality of human life in one way or another. Red biotechnology has many breakthroughs and controversies as new discoveries arise on a daily basis.

Biopharmaceuticals are made with living organisms rather than chemicals. The living organisms are modified using special equipment such as bioreactors. Scientists grow the organisms inside the bioreactors and extract proteins and acids to make medicines. Biopharmaceuticals benefit the companies because they are more cost-effective. They are more beneficial economically for the patients because they cost less and pose less of a risk for side effects.

Gene Therapy
Scientists use biotechnology in gene therapy to study and alter the genes. This process helps to cure diseases. Doctors have made significant breakthroughs in medicine using living organisms to treat diseases such as AIDS, cystic fibrosis and cancer. These professionals conduct extensive research on the division of the cells and the factors that affect cause such division. Biotechnology is also used in genetic testing for certain diseases. Additionally, specialists use this form of testing to establish paternity for custody cases. In some cases, doctors use biotechnology to test for drug usage in a client.

Pharmacogenomics is another branch of biotechnology in which scientists study the influence of genetic variation in regards to patients responses to certain drugs. This allows medical professionals the ability to create more personalized treatments. Such personalized treatments will have less of a risk for adverse reactions from the patients. The use of biotechnology in medicine remains a controversial topic. It raises many ethical questions about whether medics should be able to toy with genetics to come up with enhanced products. Some people also disapprove of its use in drug screening for employers. Biotechnology is also used to add hormones to beef products create toxic weapons and genetically modify organism. There is a fine line

between what is ethical and what is not ethical. That is why medical biotechnology continues to raise many eyebrows and prompt questions about its safety.

Biotechnology In the Field Of Transgenic animals

Animal Biotechnology Animal biotechnology is the application of scientific and engineering principles to the processing or production of materials by animals or aquatic species to provide goods and services (NRC 2003). 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 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. Transgenics Since the early 1980s, methods have been developed and refined to generate transgenic animals or transgenic aquatic species. For example, transgenic livestock and transgenic aquatic species have been generated with increased growth rates, enhanced lean muscle mass, enhanced resistance to disease or improved use of dietary phosphorous to lessen the environmental impacts of animal manure. Transgenic poultry, swine, goats, and cattle also have been produced that generate large quantities of human proteins in eggs, milk, blood, or urine, with the goal of using these products as human pharmaceuticals. Examples of human pharmaceutical proteins include enzymes, clotting factors, albumin, and antibodies. The major factor limiting widespread use of transgenic animals in agricultural production systems is the relatively inefficient rate (success rate less than 10 percent) of production of transgenic animals. NIFA has supported research projects to generate transgenic animals or transgenic aquatic species with enhanced production or health traits. Gene Knockout Technology Animal biotechnology also can knock out or inactivate a specific gene. Knockout technology creates a possible source of replacement organs for humans. The process of transplanting cells, tissues, or organs from one species to another is referred to as xenotransplantation. Currently, the pig is the major animal being considered as a xenotransplant donor to humans. Unfortunately, pig cells and human cells are not immunologically compatible. Pig cells express a carbohydrate epitope (alpha1, 3 galactose) on their surface that is not normally found on human cells. Humans will generate antibodies to this epitope, which will result in acute rejection of the xenograft. Genetic engineering is used to knock out or inactivate the pig gene (alpha1, 3 galactosyl transferase) that attaches this carbohydrate epitope on pig cells. Other examples of knockout technology in animals include inactivation of the prion-related peptide (PRP) gene that may generate animals resistant to diseases associated with prions (bovine spongiform encephalopathy [BSE], Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease [CJD], scrapie, etc.). Most of the funding for these types of projects is conducted by private companies or in academic laboratories supported by the National Institutes of Health. Research projects designed to provide basic information regarding mechanisms associated with gene knockout technology are supported by NIFA.