Biotechnology is a research-oriented field for application in various areas such asmedicine, pharmaceuticals, agriculture & 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 & daily life, from the chemical, pharmaceutical & textile industries to genetic and agriculture. It is undoubtedly the future; genetic engineering, genomic, bio computing, biomedical engineering, biosensors, bio informatics etc., will be the hot topics for the next decade or so. Several factors contribute to this phenomenal interest.
Basic economic needs for all citizens are well met in most countries. With IT shrinking distances & developments in global trade such as WTO regime, globalisation is leading to intense competition. With consequent higher stress level in workplaces, healthcare is getting increasing attention. Pharmaceutical industry is doing well & drug companies have healthy bottom lines. Molecular modelling, visualisation, advanced graphics & high speed computing all working together has enabled drug synthesis life cycle time to be brought down from 2-3 years to 6-12 months.
The renewed interest in environmental protection,‘ a back to nature trend’ & concern about ecology & interest in natural/ biodegradable/ recyclable material for paper, display devices, printing, colouring dyes, battery cells, etc. focus research onto biological & botanic organic materials.
MAIN AREAS OF WORK
Biotechnology studies are applicable in variety of area which include: Health Care
Biotechnologists are involved in the development of pharmaceuticals, diagnostics & vaccines.
Agriculture & Animal Husbandry
Bio Technology has opened up new opportunities for crop, tree & animal improvement.Tissue culture is helping agriculturists over come the limitations of genetic breeding, disease resistance, soil imbalance etc. Furthermore, biotechnologists are encouraging a shift from chemical to bio-fertilisers & the development of bio-insecticides & pesticides. BT is also applied to developments in Horticulture for purposes of export, as well as in the area of animal breeding animal feed & improved food production for human consumption.
Environment Causes of industrial air pollution, waste & effluent treatment, are major areas of concern being handled now through Biotechnology. Recycling of sewage sludge, microbial treatment for oil spills, toxic wastes & biological waste treatment of industrial effluents is increasingly being tackled by biotech firms.
The work of biotechnologists is basically research oriented & aims at
application of technology to the improvement of life & development of
a variety of end uses.
MAJOR TASKS PERFORMED
PRODUCTION:Biotechnologists are involved in production of the bio-processed materials-foods, pharmaceuticals, tissue culture, chemicals.
Industrial Research & Development: Research organisations in the government & private sector employ biotechnologists for research work in areas-pollution control, waste management & for various chemical process for increased productivity.
ACADEMIC RESEARCH: Academic research is technical, conducted more for expanding the horizons of knowledge than for application in specific areas of work. At academic & research institutes, studies are conducted in areas such as biochemical engineering, microchemistry, genetics & biochemistry.
PLANNING & MARKETING: Biotechnologists in this area are involved in the
installation & commissioning of industrial plants as well as industrial
plants & policies. They also determine the allocation of resources for
purpose of technological developments & studies in the marketing of biotechnology products & processes, in industry, in the medical field &
Candidates with postgraduate qualifications in biotechnology are employed in leading pharmaceutical companies, in chemical industries as well as agriculture & allied industries. They are also employed in the areas of planning, production & management of bio-processing industries, organic chemical industries & in pollution control activities of the major industries. They are also employed on a large scale in research laboratories run by the government & corporate sector.