Definition of Biotechnology: History, Types, and Examples of Its Application

Definition of Biotechnology – Hello, Sinaumeds friends , are you familiar with the term Biotechnology? Yep, that’s right Biotechnology has been known to humans for thousands of years.

In the field of food technology, for example, we see that the production of beer, bread and cheese has been known since the 19th century, multiplication of plants to create new varieties in agriculture, as well as nurseries and animal husbandry. Come on, see the full explanation of biotechnology below, Sinaumeds .

With the advancement of science and the improvement of biological tools, techniques have been developed to improve people’s lives. One of the most important techniques is biotechnology.

In other words, biotechnology is the science concerned with the application of biological systems and organisms to technical and industrial processes for human well-being.

Biotechnology has been used for more than 6000 years to produce desired products using microorganisms, such as bread, beer, cheese and others. Until now, the use of biotechnology has penetrated almost all aspects of life and is fully explained in the Biotechnology book.

Definition of Biotechnology

Biotechnology is a branch of biology that studies the use of living things (bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc.) as well as products from living things (enzymes, alcohol, antibiotics, organic acids) in the production process to create goods and services that can be used by humans. .

Currently the development of biotechnology is not only based on biology but also on other pure and applied sciences such as biochemistry, computer science, molecular biology, microbiology, genetics, chemistry, mathematics, and others.

As explained above, biotechnology is an applied science that combines various branches of knowledge in the production of goods and services.

In the medical field, the application of biotechnology in the past has been proven, among others, by the discovery of vaccines, antibiotics and insulin, although this is still limited due to incomplete fermentation.

Significant changes occurred after Louis Pasteur invented the bioreactor. With this tool, it is possible to achieve mass production of antibiotics and vaccines.

Currently, biotechnology has a very rapid development, especially in developed countries. This progress was marked by the discovery of various technologies such as genetic engineering, tissue culture, recombinant DNA, stem cell selection, cloning, and others.

This technology allows us to obtain drugs for chronic and incurable genetic diseases, such as cancer or AIDS. Research in the field of stem cell development also enables victims of strokes or other diseases that result in loss or damage to body tissues to recover.

In the food sector, using genetic engineering, tissue culture and recombinant DNA technology, it is possible to create plants with superior properties and products because they contain more nutrients than ordinary plants and are also more resistant to pests and environmental stress.

The application of biotechnology in this era can also be found in environmental protection from pollution. For example, in the decomposition of oil by bacteria that spills into the sea and in the process of decomposing hazardous substances (poisons) in rivers or seas using new types of bacteria.

Advances in biotechnology cannot be separated from various controversies surrounding technological developments. For example, cloning technology and genetic engineering of food crops have been criticized by many.

Generic biotechnology means improving the quality of an organism through the application of technology. The application of this technology can change the biological function of an organism by adding genes from other organisms or by modifying the genes of the organism.

Changes in biological properties by genetic engineering cause “the birth of new organisms”, biotechnology products with beneficial properties for humans. Biotechnology products include:

  • Insect resistant corn
  • Insect repellent cotton
  • Papaya is resistant to viruses
  • Enzymes increase milk production in cows
  • Rice contains vitamin A
  • Bananas contain hepatitis vaccine

History of the Development of Biotechnology

Biotechnology comes from 3 words, namely bios meaning life, teknos meaning application and logos meaning knowledge. The application of biotechnology has been practiced by our ancestors thousands of years ago. The development itself can be classified into 3 periods, namely:

1. Traditional Biotechnology (6000 BC)

Characterized by the use of microorganisms (fermentation) to prepare or preserve food and beverages. This period, which occurred before AD 1800, began with the production of beer from Babylonian yeast.

Besides beer, there are also foods and drinks that are processed through fermentation. For example: bread, tempeh, duct tape, sake, oncom and soy sauce. However, the ancients did not know the term biotechnology, because there was no science to explain it.

2. Era of Scientific Biotechnology (1800 BC – mid 19th century)

People began to realize that fermentation did not happen by chance. Intrigued, they conduct research using scientific principles. The result was the discovery of an enzyme extracted from yeast that could convert sugar into alcohol.

This was followed by the use of the term biotechnology by Karl Ereky in 1919. At that time, the fruits of biotechnology were not only food but also drugs, such as antibiotics and penicillin.

3. Era of Modern Biotechnology (after World War II – now)

Over time, human needs are also increasing. Efforts are being made to produce food and medicines through more efficient and effective processes. The era of modern biotechnology already existed when the restriction endonuclease enzyme was discovered. These enzymes allow us to cut and paste DNA into living organisms.

Types of Biotechnology

Therefore biotechnology can be divided based on its complexity into two types, namely traditional or conventional biotechnology and modern biotechnology as follows:

1. Conventional (Traditional) Biotechnology

Conventional or traditional biotechnology is biotechnology that uses bacteria, biochemical processes, and natural genetic processes in the form of mutation or gene recombination. This principle of biotechnology has been known to mankind for thousands of years.

Conventional biotechnology uses the principles or methods of making traditional products. For example, make duct tape by sprinkling yeast on the surface of cassava roots and letting it sit for 3 days.

This process requires the help of microorganisms such as the fungus Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the fungus Aspergillus sp and the bacterium Acetobacter aceti. As a result, these microorganisms change the taste of cassava to be sweet and has a distinctive aroma.

The benefits of traditional biotechnology are:

  • Increase the nutritional content of food products in the form of food and beverages.
  • Helping the process of increasing the agricultural industry as a commodity production and trading industry.
  • Increase the number of jobs and increase people’s income.
  • Promote domestic industrial products.

The application of conventional biotechnology has penetrated several areas of human life such as food, agriculture, animal husbandry, as well as health and medicine.

A. Food

There are many benefits of conventional biotechnology science in the food sector. The reason is that this field became the starting point for the introduction of simple human biotechnology in ancient times. The following are examples of biotechnology products in the food sector:

  • Tempe, which is made from soybeans, uses the protease enzyme and the fungus Rhizopus oligosporus as its biological agents.
  • Tauco, made from soybeans using protease enzymes and the biological agent Aspergillus oryzae .
  • Soy sauce, made from soybeans using protease enzymes and Aspergillus soybean biological agents.
  • Oncom, made from peanut cake using the protease enzyme and Monilia sitophila probiotic .
  • Yogurt, made from milk using the enzyme lactase and biological agents from the bacteria Streptococcus thermophilus and Streptococcus vulgaris.
  • Cheese, made from milk with Lipase enzyme and Lactobacillus biological agent.
  • Butter, which is made from milk has the lipase enzyme, but also contains Lactobacillus lactis or Streptococcus lactis bacteria.
  • Tapai glutinous rice, made from glutinous rice and uses the biological agent Saccharomyces cereviceae .
  • Asian, made from cabbage using the enzyme lactase and the bacterium Lactobacillus plantarum .
  • Sugar syrup, using amylase enzymes and Bacillus subtilis bacteria .
  • Nata de coco, made from coconut water using cellulase enzymes and Acetobacter xylinum bacteria .
  • Ice Cream, made from milk using the enzyme lactase and the bacteria Saccharomyces Mushroomlis .

Apart from these foods, conventional biotechnology also creates many products in the form of beverages. One of them is kombucha tea which is a fermented tea solution product with microbial culture. Brewing this tea uses molasses enzymes as an abundant sugar waste.

Enzyme drops are known as a by-product of cane sugar production. Even so, the content of organic acids and sugars is high enough to be used as a source of nutrition during fermentation. Kombucha tea culture itself contains a lot of bacteria and yeast.

Some of the bacteria in it are Acetobacter xylinum, Acetobacter aceti, Acetobacter pasteunanus, Brettanamyces bruxellensis. Brettanomyces intermedius, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Candida forma, Gluconobacter, Mycoderma, Mycotorula, Pichia, Schizosaccharomyces and Torula.

Kombucha tea is said to be effective in treating nervous and mental stress, hardening of the arteries, chronic fatigue, preventing skin aging, intestinal disorders, lowering cholesterol, treating colon cancer and both breast cancers. This is due to the different content of acids and vitamins.

B. Agriculture

In the field of biotechnology agriculture that is commonly seen in society, among others:

  • Hydroponics is a farming method that does not use soil as a growing medium.
  • Natural Mustard plants underwent human selection to produce broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage.

C. Livestock

Conventional biotechnology is also widely applied in the livestock sector, examples of its application are as follows.

  • The Ankon sheep, in particular, have short, crooked legs due to a natural mutation.
  • Jersey cows, especially dairy cows, contain more cream after mutation by humans.

D. Health

In the field of world health, biotechnology is also widely applied to produce medicines such as:

  • Antibiotics are medical products made from fungi and bacteria.
  • Vaccines are products that increase the body’s immunity by using microorganisms or their parts that have been killed before being poisoned.

2. Modern Biotechnology

Modern biotechnology began to experience significant developments after the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1950. Modern biotechnology is best known as a type of biotechnology based on engineering, DNA engineering or genetic manipulation using biochemistry and microbiology.

Genetic engineering or genetic engineering is the direct manipulation of genes for practical purposes. One of the genetic engineering techniques is recombinant DNA where certain genes are inserted into cells by cloning techniques which are also called tissue culture.

For example, DNA microarrays represented by colored dots are interpreted as the relative expression levels of 2,400 human genes. Micro aryl analysis is often used to compare gene expression in different samples, such as normal tissue samples and cancer samples.

This knowledge is then developed and used as a technique for conducting research on cancer and other diseases. Along with its development, modern biotechnology is applied in various fields of life.

A. Reproductive Technology

Reproductive technology is a way of reproduction that uses certain tools and processes. This method is carried out with the aim of improving personal quality so that it becomes better in accordance with human expectations. There are several forms of reproduction techniques that are applied, namely:

  • Tissue culture, a way to increase the number of plants by culturing certain tissues so that they develop into individuals that have the same characteristics as their parents. This method can produce high quality seeds in a short time, in large quantities and disease free.
  • Artificial insemination, a method of fertilization that is carried out using human assistance. This insemination method is usually applied to cattle and sometimes also to humans.
  • In Vitro Fertilization or IVF, a method of producing babies through a fertilization process that is not carried out in the body. This method is often used by married couples who find it difficult to conceive.
  • Cloning or cloning, a method of producing offspring that are identical to their parents based on asexual traits. Breeding, a method of crossing organisms from different breeds.

B. Radiation

Radiation or also called irradiation is a way of using electromagnetic waves to preserve food, inhibit the growth of plant shoots, prevent fruit ripening, and is also a way of mutagenesis.

C. Hydroponics and Aeroponics

Hydroponics is a farming method that uses water and porous or porous materials. Meanwhile aeroponics is a method of planting by letting plant roots hang in the air so that these roots do not stick to any planting medium.

The following are some of the advantages of farming with hydroponic and aeroponic methods, including:

  • Plant growth does not depend on season and place, including location altitude and land area as a planting medium.
  • The quality of plantation products such as vegetables and fruit is better than the usual planting process.
  • Fertilizers are used more sparingly, because the amount given must be regulated.
  • Pests and plant diseases that originate from the soil will not attack plants.

D. Treatment

Modern biotechnology is also widely used in the medical field, especially for the production of drugs. Here are some biotechnology products in the medical field, in particular:

  • Interferon, a drug produced to increase immunity and fight infection. Usually given to people with cancer and hepatitis.
  • Insulin, a man-made hormone used to control blood sugar. This hormone is usually given to diabetics.
  • Vaccines, antigens used to create immunity against certain diseases. Vaccination is often referred to as vaccination or immunization.
  • Penicillin, an antibiotic used as a drug to treat infections caused by bacteria and fungi.
  • Growth hormone, is a hormone that is produced as a drug to prevent stunting and as an ingredient in the healing process.
  • Beta-endorphin, a man-made hormone that is useful for relieving pain. This hormone is often given to people with mental disorders such as schizophrenia.
  • Plasminogen activator, a drug used to prevent strokes and also dissolve blood clots.
  • Interleukin 2, a protein is also useful for reactivating the body’s immune system.
  • Man-made monoclonal antibodies are used to attack and then destroy tumors and cancer cells.
  • Enzymes, drugs that are used to enhance reactions or act as good biological catalysts. Its use is commonly used for human purposes and industrial fields.

Examples of Application of Biotechnology

Biotechnology has been applied in various fields or sectors according to its mission to help human life. The form of application or application extends to several fields, starting from the fields of food, agriculture, health, industry, water and forestry

1. Food Sector

There are many applications of biotechnology in the food industry and almost all of them have been mentioned. Products engineered by biotechnology are often consumed in the form of drinks and food. Some of them are yogurt, syrup, bread, and tempeh.

2. Agriculture and Forestry

The use of biotechnology in agriculture and forestry is also very diverse. Some of these include herbicide-resistant soybeans, genetically engineered tomatoes to be resistant, and insect-resistant corn. The forestry sector has a tissue culture method.

3. Health Sector

In the health sector, biotechnology applications mostly involve genetic engineering. Some examples of biotechnology in this field include the production of the insulin hormone by bacteria, the use of stem cells, the discovery of vaccines, and also the use of monoclonal antibodies.

4. Industrial Sector

Industrial applications of biotechnology include the use of biomass to convert energy and various products. In general, biotechnology products have high economic value. Examples of its application are the production processes of sugars, alcohols, enzymes, etc.

5. Marine Sector

Active ingredients produced by marine organisms are also widely used for medicinal, agricultural, industrial and environmental purposes. There are many cosmetic products that use active ingredients from marine organisms as ingredients, as well as marine restoration processes.