Today, the Global Agenda Council on Biotechnology (one of the global networks of the World Economic Forum) announced that it has identified “ten most important biotechnologies” that could be used to meet the rapidly increasing demand for energy, food and nutrition. The council stated that these new technologies have the potential for increasing productivity and creating new jobs. Biotech News Health X provides the most recent biotechnology news, including breaking news about emerging companies, biotech acquisitions and funding deals, as well as biotechnology research.
Sustainable production of chemicals, energy and fuels using bio-based methods
Human activity has reduced approximately half the world’s fossil hydrocarbon reserves over the past century. These fossil hydrocarbons, which have taken over 600 million years for to accumulate, are not renewable and their extraction, refining, and use contribute to the human emission of greenhouse gases and global warming. A carbon-neutral option must be found to ensure human development. Bio-based synthesis, which is the bio-based production from plants that can be grown again, is the most promising technology.
Sustainable food production
The increasing number of people and their wealth is posing increasing challenges to humanity’s ability to produce sufficient food and fuel. Modern genetic modification of crops, although controversial, has helped increase agricultural productivity. In 2011, 16.7 million farmers grew biotechnology-developed crops on almost 400 million acres in 29 countries, 19 of which were developing countries. These crops can be managed properly to reduce pesticide use as well as soil erosion.
Bio-processes based on seawater
Seawater covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface. It is also the largest water source on the planet. We are still exploring the full potential of seawater. Halliophic bacteria, which can grow in seawater, can be engineered to grow quicker and produce useful products such as chemicals, fuels, and polymeric materials. Ocean agriculture is another promising technology. It uses photosynthetic biomass found in the oceans like macroalgae or microalgae.
Non-resource draining zero waste bio-processing
Biotechnology may make it possible to achieve the sustainable goal of zero waste. Biotechnology can turn waste streams into valuable chemicals or fuels at bio-refineries, closing the loop on production without any net waste. Biotechnology has made it possible to use less-expensive and draining inputs, such as methane and waste heat, thanks to its advances. These breakthroughs simplify waste streams and have the potential to reduce toxicity, as well as to support their use within other processes. This will help society move closer to zero waste.
Carbon dioxide is used as a raw material
Biotechnology has the potential to provide solutions to the rising threat of CO2 levels. Our understanding of the processes by which living organisms use and consume CO2 is rapidly improving with each passing year. Scientists are harnessing the power and potential of natural biological systems to engineer new approaches to convert CO2 and C1 molecules from waste into fuels, energy, chemicals, and other materials.
Due to increased longevity and the treatment of injuries, regenerative medicine is becoming more important. To speed up regenerative medicine, tissue engineering has been created using various bio-materials. Stem cells, particularly induced pluripotent (iPS) stem cells, have opened up a new avenue for regenerative medicine. In the near future, tissue engineering and stem cell (including iPS), technologies will be combined to allow for replacement of old or damaged human organs with functional ones.
Rapid, precise manufacturing and development of medicines and vaccines
Global pandemics remain one of the greatest and most serious threats to humanity. Biotechnology can quickly identify biological threats and develop potential cures. Biotechnology at the forefront of innovation is now able to quickly produce vaccines and therapeutics for virtually any target. These technologies include messenger therapies, targeted immunotherapies and conjugated nanoparticles. They also have the potential to produce candidates that can significantly improve human health worldwide.
Prognostications and diagnostics that are accurate, quick, affordable, and personal.
It will be possible to quickly develop accurate, personalized, and affordable diagnostics and prognostic systems by combining nanotechnology with information technology.
Biotech innovations in soil and water
Arable land, as well as fresh water, are two of the most precious, but limited resources on Earth. As the demand for these resources has increased, abuse and misappropriation have made it more difficult to access them. Biotechnology has already produced technologies that can restore their viability and vitality. Bio-remediation and bio-regeneration are three new technologies that have been developed. They offer the potential to not just restore these resources but also increase their potential.