Biotechnology, which uses components of a living system to create new products and processes, is one of the most intriguing corners of science. It is more a part of your life that you think: The shirt you’re wearing, the bread you had for breakfast, and the beer you grab to relax all use biotechnology in one form or the other.
The world of biotech is expansive: more and more companies are joining the bandwagon and creating processes that can immensely improve our lives. Since it has a number of uses, scientists have categorized biotechnology by color, with each color representing a different branch. Let’s take a look at each of these categories in detail:
Also known as industrial biotechnology, white biotechnology uses living micro-organisms, such as yeast and molds, to create products and processes that require less energy and create less waste. Some products that fall into this category are paper, chemicals, fabrics, and detergents. The industrial biotechnology industry has been gaining traction over the conventional chemical industry because it is able to synthesize nature and technology to create effective products while conserving energy.
As the color suggests, the term green biotechnology applies to agricultural processes. Like white biotechnology, its green counterpart is also helping save the environment. It is doing this by producing safer pesticides and fertilizers. This category is also where genetically modified organisms (GMOs) come in. Biotechnology has been able to create better crops that have more nutritional value. Although GMOs face some controversy about not being safe for consumption, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has consistently maintained that genetically engineered foods “don’t present different or greater safety concerns than their non-genetically engineered counterparts.”
The term red biotechnology applies to the medicine industry, which has immensely progressed due to the advances in science. Biotechnology is literally saving lives all over the world by creating better diagnostic tools and treatments through biopharmaceutical drugs. Some of these treatments are for hard-to-treat diseases like cancer and diabetes. These treatments also include genetic testing to create targeted cures for patients according to their genetic makeup. One of the biggest problems faced by the traditional medicine industry is side effects; Biotechnology is gradually sweeping this concern to the side since biopharmaceutical drugs are derived from natural sources.
Blue Biotechnology uses marine organisms to create products and processes that can greatly improve our lives and help the environment. It is increasing the safety of waterborne organisms by controlling the reproduction of dangerous organisms. Moreover, marine biotechnology is expanding seafood supply and helping with the development of new medications. The extraction of cod liver oil to create healthy supplements is a prime example of how blue biotechnology is contributing to the drug industry.