Definition of Biotechnology

Biotechnology refers to the use of microorganisms such as bacteria or biological substances such as enzymes, to perform industrial or manufacturing processes. Although biotechnology seems new, it has been around for quite some time and has been used to produce drugs and synthesize hormones. Biotechnology has also been used to genetically alter bacteria for use with the cleanup of oils spills.

One area of biotechnology uses organisms to manufacture organic products such as beer and milk products. Biotechnology is also used to recycle, treat waste, clean up sites contaminated by industrial activities (bioremediation).

Another area of biotechnology doesn't use living organisms at all. Examples include DNA microarrays used in genetics and radioactive tracers used in medicine.

Modern biotechnology is often associated with the use of genetically altered microorganisms such as E. coli or yeast for the production of substances like insulin or antibiotics. Another promising new biotechnology application is the development of plant-made pharmaceuticals.

Related Terms

  • Nanotechnology

Other Definitions

Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

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