The Biotechnology ( ancient Greek βίος bíos , German , Life ' ; as a synonym for biotechnology and briefly as Biotech ) is an interdisciplinary science that deals with the use of enzymes , cells and whole organisms in technical applications concerned. Objectives include the development of new or more efficient processes for the production of chemical compounds and diagnostic methods .
In biotechnology, findings from many areas, such as microbiology , biochemistry ( chemistry ), molecular biology , genetics , bioinformatics and engineering with process engineering ( bioprocess engineering ), are used. It is based on chemical reactions that are catalyzed by free enzymes or enzymes present in cells ( biocatalysis or bioconversion ). Biotechnology makes important contributions to the process of biologization .
Classic biotechnological applications were developed thousands of years ago, such as E.g. the production of wine and beer with yeast and the processing of milk into various foods with the help of certain microorganisms or enzymes. Modern biotechnology has been making increasing use of microbiological knowledge and methods since the 19th century and, since the middle of the 20th century, increasingly also on molecular biological , genetic and genetic engineering knowledge and methods. This makes it possible to use manufacturing processes for chemical compounds, e.g. For example, as active ingredient for pharmaceuticals or as base chemicals for the chemical industry , diagnostic methods , biosensors , new plant varieties to develop and more.
Biotechnical processes can be used in a wide variety of areas. Sometimes attempts are made to sort these processes according to application areas, such as B. Medicine ( red biotechnology ), plants or agriculture ( green biotechnology ) and industry ( white biotechnology ). Sometimes a distinction is also made according to which living beings the methods are applied to, such as in blue biotechnology or yellow biotechnology, which relates to applications in marine life or insects.
There have been biotechnical applications for thousands of years, such as B. the production of beer and wine . The biochemical background was initially largely unclear. With advances in various sciences, especially microbiology in the 19th century, biotechnology was scientifically processed, i.e. biotechnology was developed. Optimized or new biotechnical application possibilities were opened up. Other important steps were the discovery of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA or DNA) in the 1950s, the increasing understanding of its importance and functionality and the subsequent development of molecular biological and genetic engineering laboratory methods.
First biotechnical applications
The earliest applications of biotechnology, which have been known for over 5000 years, the production of bread , wine or beer ( alcoholic fermentation ) using the fungi belonging yeast . By using lactic acid bacteria , sourdough (soured bread) and sour milk products such as cheese , yoghurt , sour milk or kefir could also be produced. One of the earliest biotechnological applications outside of nutrition was tanning and staining of hides using feces and other enzyme-containing materials to make leather . Large parts of biotechnology were based on these production processes until the Middle Ages, and around 1650 the first biotechnological process for the production of vinegar emerged .
Development of microbiology
Modern biotechnology is essentially based on microbiology , which emerged in the second half of the 19th century. In particular, the development of cultivation methods , pure culture and sterilization by Louis Pasteur laid the foundations for the investigation and application ( applied microbiology ) of microorganisms . In 1867 Pasteur was able to isolate acetic acid bacteria and brewer's yeast using these methods . Around 1890 he and Robert Koch developed the first vaccinations on the basis of isolated pathogens and thus laid the basis for medical biotechnology . The Japanese Jōkichi Takamine was the first to isolate a single enzyme for technical use, alpha-amylase . A few years later, the German chemist Otto Röhm used animal proteases (protein-degrading enzymes) from slaughterhouse waste as detergents and auxiliaries for leather production .
Biotechnology in the 20th Century
The large-scale production of butanol and acetone by fermentation of the bacterium Clostridium acetobutylicum was described and developed in 1916 by the chemist and later Israeli President Charles Weizmann . It was the first development of white biotechnology . The process was used until the middle of the 20th century, but then replaced by the more economical petrochemical synthesis from the propene fraction of crude oil . The production of citric acid was carried out from 1920 by surface fermentation of the fungus Aspergillus niger . In 1957 the amino acid glutamic acid was produced for the first time with the help of the soil bacterium Corynebacterium glutamicum .
In 1928/29 Alexander Fleming discovered the first medically used antibiotic penicillin in the fungus Penicillium chrysogenum . In 1943 the antibiotic streptomycin followed by Selman Waksman , Albert Schatz and Elizabeth Bugie . In 1949, the production of steroids was implemented on an industrial scale. In the early 1960s, biotechnologically derived proteases were added to detergents for the first time to remove protein stains . In cheese production , the calf rennet has been replaced by rennin produced in microorganisms since 1965 . From 1970 on, amylases and other starch-splitting enzymes could be produced using biotechnology . B. corn starch in the so-called "high-fructose corn syrup", so corn syrup , converted and used as a substitute for cane sugar ( sucrose ), z. B. in beverage production could be used.
Modern biotechnology since the 1970s
Elucidation of the DNA structure
Since the 1970s, there have been a number of central developments in laboratory and analysis technology. In 1972, the biologists Stanley N. Cohen and Herbert Boyer succeeded in using molecular biological methods the first in vitro recombination of DNA (change of DNA in the test tube ), as well as the production of plasmid vectors as a tool for the transfer (a vector ) of genetic material , e.g. B. in bacterial cells.
In 1975 César Milstein and Georges Köhler produced monoclonal antibodies for the first time, which are an important tool in medical and biological diagnostics . Since 1977, recombinant proteins ( proteins originally derived from other species ) can be made in bacteria and produced on a larger scale. In 1982 were first transgenic crop plants with genetically acquired herbicide resistance generated so that when plant protection measures the appropriate herbicide spares the crop. In the same year knock-out mice were created for medical research. They have at least one gene inactivated in order to understand and examine its function or the function of the homologous gene in humans.
In 1990 that launched the Human Genome Project , which until 2001 (or 2003 in the intended standards) the entire human genome of 3.2 × 10 9 decrypts base pairs (bp) and sequenced was. The sequencing technology is based directly on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) developed in 1975 , which enables a rapid and more than 100,000-fold increase in certain DNA sequences and thus sufficient quantities of this sequence, e.g. B. for analysis made available. As early as 1996, that of the baker's yeast ( Saccharomyces cerevisiae ) with 2 × 10 7 bp was completely elucidated as the first genome . Due to the rapid development of sequencing technology, other genomes, such as that of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster (2 × 10 8 bp), could be sequenced relatively quickly.
The determination of genome sequences led to the establishment of further research areas based thereon, such as transcriptomics , proteomics , metabolomics and systems biology and to an increase in importance, e.g. B. bioinformatics .
Applications of genetic engineering
In 1995, the first transgenic product, the Flavr Savr tomato, came onto the market and was approved for sale in the USA and Great Britain. The first attempts at gene therapy in humans were made in 1996, and human stem cells were first propagated in cell culture in 1999 . In the same year, the market volume of recombinantly produced proteins in the pharmaceutical industry exceeded the value of US $ 10 billion for the first time. The cloned sheep Dolly was born in 1998.
The newly developed genetic engineering methods offered biotechnology new opportunities for development, which led to the emergence of molecular biotechnology. It forms the interface between molecular biology and classical biotechnology. Important techniques are e.g. B. the transformation or transduction of bacteria with the help of plasmids or viruses . Certain genes can be specifically introduced into suitable types of bacteria. Further areas of application for molecular biotechnology are analytical methods, for example for the identification and sequencing of DNA or RNA fragments.
Branches of biotechnology
Biotechnology is a very broad term. It is therefore divided into different branches depending on the respective application areas. Some of these overlap, so that this subdivision is not always clear. Some of the terms are not yet established or are defined differently.
|Green biotechnology||Use in agriculture ; Plant biotechnology|
|Red biotechnology||Use in medicine and pharmaceuticals ; Medical biotechnology|
|White biotechnology||Use in industry ; Industrial biotechnology|
|Gray biotechnology||Use in waste management|
|Brown biotechnology||Technical or environmental technology z. B. in soil protection|
|Blue biotechnology||biotechnological use of marine resources|
The green biotechnology concerns herbal applications such. B. for agricultural purposes. The Red Biotechnology is the area medical-pharmaceutical applications such. B. the manufacture of medicines and diagnostics. The white biotechnology or industrial biotechnology comprises biotechnological production process, especially for chemical compounds in the chemical industry , and also procedures in textile - or food industry .
The division into the areas of blue biotechnology , which deals with the use of organisms from the sea, and gray biotechnology with biotechnological processes in the field of waste management ( sewage treatment plants , soil decontamination and the like) are less common .
In modern biotechnology, both bacteria and higher organisms such as fungi , plants or animal cells are now used. Frequently used organisms have often already been carefully researched, such as the intestinal bacterium Escherichia coli or the baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae . Well-researched organisms are often used for biotechnological applications because they are well known and methods for their cultivation or genetic manipulation have already been developed. Simple organisms can also be genetically modified with less effort .
Increasingly, higher organisms ( multicellular eukaryotes ) are also used in biotechnology. The reason for this is, for example, the ability to make post-translational changes to proteins that z. B. not take place in bacteria. An example of this is the glycoprotein - hormone erythropoietin , under the abbreviation EPO as doping agents known. However, eukaryotic cells grow more slowly than bacteria and are more difficult to cultivate for other reasons. In some cases, pharmaceutical plants that are cultivated in the field, in the greenhouse or in the photobioreactor can be an alternative to the production of these biopharmaceuticals .
Microorganisms in particular can be cultivated in bioreactors or fermenters . These are containers in which the conditions are controlled and optimized so that the cultivated microorganisms produce the desired substances. In bioreactors, various parameters such as B. pH , temperature , oxygen supply , nitrogen supply , glucose content or stirrer settings can be regulated. Since the microorganisms that can be used have very different requirements, very different types of fermenters are available, such as B. stirred tank reactors , loop reactors , airlift reactors , as well as light-transmitting photobioreactors for cultivating photosynthetic organisms (such as algae and plants).
Due to the diversity of biotechnology, numerous areas of application and products are linked to or dependent on it:
- Antibody technologies : production e.g. B. of monoclonal antibodies for various diagnostic methods in medical and biological application and research
- Bioelectronics : Linking biology and electronics, e.g. B. for the development of biosensors
- Bioinformatics : processing of data obtained with biotechnological methods such as B. genome sequencing obtained; but also the basis for the development of new biotechnological methods and applications
- Bioprocess engineering : implementation of biotechnological applications, such as B. Development of fermentation processes
- Bioremediation : Removal of contaminated sites , such as B. toxic organic compounds in soils, using biochemical capabilities, e.g. B. of bacteria
- DNA chip technology : Use of so-called DNA chips for extensive screenings , e.g. B. in genetics (e.g. diagnosis of hereditary diseases), genetic engineering etc.
- Downstream processing : preparation (purification) of biotechnologically produced compounds, e.g. B. from fermentation processes or approaches
- Ethanol fuel : Production of the biofuel bioethanol , e.g. B. from corn starch, with the help of microorganisms that operate alcoholic fermentation, and enzymes that improve the process flow
- Genetic test development: e.g. B. Detection of mutations that cause hereditary diseases such as Huntington's disease
- Gene therapy : e.g. B. Introduction of an intact gene variant for the temporary or permanent elimination of a genetic defect
- Cloning : e.g. B. therapeutic cloning in order to generate in vitro replacement organs for the patient from whom the original cells originate from the cells obtained
- Cloning technologies (cloning): Transfer of a specific DNA sequence into an organism, e.g. B. the human insulin gene in a bacterium, for the recombinant production of insulin
- Criminalistic applications (see also genetic fingerprint ): Identification of an offender based on the examination of traces using biotechnological methods
- Nanobiotechnology (see also Nanotechnology )
- Nutrigenomics : e.g. B. Development of functional food for medical prevention
- Pharmacogenomics : Development of individualized (optimized) drug therapies, e.g. B. for specific populations or parts of the population
- Pharmaceutical biotechnology (branch of red biotechnology)
- Protein engineering : targeted design of modified or new proteins for specific applications
- Stem cell therapy : Use of omnipotent or pluripotent stem cells to treat various diseases
- Tissue engineering or tissue cultivation : In-vitro production of tissues for use in regenerative medicine
- Transgenic Technologies
- Xenotransplantation : the transfer of cells or tissues between different species
- Cellulose-Ethanol : Generation of bioethanol from cellulose, which was previously not efficiently accessible enzymatically, by using recombinantly produced enzymes
- u. v. m.
Many applications of biotechnology are based on a good understanding of how organisms work. Through new methods and approaches, such as B. genome sequencing and related research areas such as proteomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, bioinformatics, etc., this understanding is constantly being expanded. More and more medical applications are possible. In white biotechnology , certain chemical compounds, e.g. B. for pharmaceutical purposes or as a raw material for the chemical industry, and plants can be optimized for certain environmental conditions or their intended use. Frequently, previous applications can also be replaced by more advantageous biotechnological processes, such as B. environmentally harmful chemical manufacturing processes in industry. It is therefore expected that the growth of the biotechnology industry will continue in the future.
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