The field of biotechnology involves the use of living organisms, biological systems, and their derivatives to develop products for mankind. It helps address various problems, such as improving food quality, preventing infectious diseases, and finding new energy sources. Due to the increasing number of people and the decreasing number of natural resources, biotechnology is becoming more prevalent.
Biotechnology has been providing various services to the public for a long time, and we must continue to use it to meet our everyday needs. It has offered various products and services in different fields, such as healthcare, food, wine, and textiles. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, biotechnology is now playing a vital role in the production of vaccines.
Biofuels are derived from various sources, such as animal waste, plants, and algae. Due to the decrease of fossil fuels and the increasing cost of power, the production of biofuels has become a vital part of the energy supply. These are considered to be renewable and environment-friendly. Some of these include ethanol, and biodiesel.
The fermentation process of starch found in various crops, such as sugarcane, maize, and other food types, can produce ethanol. The US and Brazil are the primary producers of this type of liquid biofuel. The US uses food grains such as sorghum, cane, and sugarcane as feedstocks for ethanol production. In the US, about 10% of ethanol is used in gasoline to produce “gasohol,” a mixture of petrol and ethanol.
To meet the needs of the public and reduce the harmful effects of petroleum diesel, a type of domestic biofuel known as biodiesel is produced from vegetable oils and animal fats. It is also beneficial for the environment as it helps clean the air by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Biodiesel can be produced from vegetable oils that are transesterified by ethanol. In some countries, such as India, biodiesel is also made from the seeds of the Jatropha plant.
2. Dairy Products
We owe many dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese, to biotechnology-the fermentation process of milk results in cheese formation, mainly done through the lactic acid process. Milk contains various nutrients, such as water, protein, fat, and carbohydrates. It can also be separated into solid and liquid forms by adding rennet or acidification.
Certain bacteria, such as the streptococci and the lactobacilli, convert milk sugar into lactic acid to lower the milk’s pH level. This process is referred to as acidification. It kills harmful bacteria and helps separate the milk into two types: liquid whey and rennet.
The two milk components are separated by separating the solid and liquid forms. The liquid whey is taken out, and the milk is shaped and salted. Rennet is a group of enzymes found in ruminant mammals’ stomachs. One of these is called chymosin, which helps form casein protein in milk.
3. Baked Goods
One of the most common food items consumed by humans is bread. Making bread involves using water, sugar, yeast, and flour. When the moist dough is filled with starch, broken down by the presence of enzymes called amylopectin and amylase, it becomes soft and creamy.
The yeast, which is a type of fungus, feeds on the sugar in the dough. The maltase in the dough breaks down the starch into glucose, which is converted into energy through aerobic respiration. However, it then switches to anaerobic respiration and releases ethanol and CO2.
The trapped CO2 molecules then get stuck in the gluten molecules, which turns the dough into a thick and creamy consistency. After it has been heated, the yeast is killed, and the ethanol evaporates. This process is carried out by the Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast, also known as the baker’s yeast.
4. Milk Free Of Lactose
In milk, lactose is a sugar that is naturally present. Lactase breaks it down in our gut, an enzyme responsible for the digestion of lactose. Unfortunately, some people are lactose intolerant, preventing them from adequately breaking down lactose. This condition can cause various symptoms, such as bloating and nausea. Thanks to biotechnology, milk has now become lactose-free.
Pre-treated milk is then treated with a lactase enzyme, breaking down lactose into galactose and glucose. This process is carried out by the yeast known as Kluyveromyces. These lactose-free milk are soluble and can easily be absorbed by the intestine.