How is Biotechnology Used in Everyday Life?

Female Scientist Working in The Lab, Using Computer Screen

Biotechnology has to do with using the biological systems found in organisms or using the living organisms to make technological advances and deploy those technologies in different fields. The application of those technologies spans across various areas ranging from agricultural to medical.

Biotechnology plays a huge role in our everyday lives — from the clothes we wear to how we wash them, the food we eat to how we source them, the medicine we take to treat our bodies, and even the fuel we use to move our vehicles. Hence, the need for more graduates with a bachelor of biotechnology degree.

The following are how biotechnology applies to our everyday lives.


1. Biofuel

Biofuel is obtained by fermenting sugars extracted from plants to ethanol, using a similar process like the one used in beer and wine-making. Biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel are blended with petrol and biodiesel to meet the legislation on greenhouse gas emissions.

When the blended biofuels are used in road transportation, the fuel can reduce their carbon impact.


2. Vaccines

Vaccines are introduced into the body’s immune system to fight pathogens when they attack. It is achieved by introducing weakened versions of the disease into the bloodstream.

The weakened disease pathogens are extracted using biotechnological techniques like growing the antigenic proteins in genetically engineered crops.


3. Bioremediation

Bioremediation has to do with utilizing biotechnical applications to develop an enzyme that goes beyond pretreating some industrial and food waste components to allow for efficient removal of sewage systems.


Glysophate-resistant Palmer pigweed


4. Pest Resistant Crops

Biotechnology has offered various techniques for the creation of crops that naturally display anti-pest characteristics.

So, instead of dusting and spraying the plants with pesticides, the plants become naturally resistant to pests. An example is the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis genes being transferred to crops.


5. Environmental Engineers

Environmental engineers have discovered a clean and safe way to dispose of waste. They do this by introducing nutrients to stimulate the activity of bacteria in the soil at the waste site. The bacteria digest the waste, thereby turning it into harmless byproducts.

After consuming the waste, the bacteria either die or return to their normal population levels. There are situations where the byproducts of the bacteria are useful and can be used for other valuable purposes.


Cropped shot of an unrecognizable woman working in a cheese factory

6. Cheese Production

For over 20 years, the cheese we eat is created with a biotech enzyme, chymosin — the natural enzyme found in calves and used to curdle milk during cheese production.

Using biotechnology to produce the enzyme makes it abundant and purer while removing the need to use animals to make cheese. Approximately 60% of all hard cheese products are now made with a biotech enzyme.


7. Alcoholic Drinks

One of the most basic uses of biotechnology is in the area of alcohol production. Every day, people across the world would drink a glass or two. Beer, for example, is made from water, barley, brewer’s yeast, and flavouring.

During production, the starch contained in the barley is converted to sugar by enzymes then fermented. Then, the brewer’s yeast metabolises the sugars to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide. The enzymes and microbes are standard tools used in industrial biotechnology.


Macrophage engulfing tuberculosis bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis, 3D illustration8. Biodefense and Public Safety

Military weapons have gone biological. Therefore, military units and disaster responders are now faced with threats from biological and chemical substances.

There are now biotechnology-produced enzymes that can break down toxic chemicals, including nerve-damaging gases like Sarin and Somain.

Those dangerous gases are broken down in an effective, convenient, and environmentally-friendly way. The enzymes are simply mixed with water and sprayed at the site of the attack.


9. Forensic science – DNA fingerprinting

Every living organism has chromosomes which are made up of DNA sequence. The DNA sequence is unique for every individual.

Identifying the pattern of DNA sequences is done in forensic DNA analysis using biotechnological tools. DNA fingerprinting is a useful tool in identifying a suspect in a criminal investigation, in paternity cases or identifying unrecognizable victims in a catastrophe.


In a Nutshell

Finally, you can see that biotechnology is used in every day life — from creating revolutionary products and technologies that fight against debilitating and rare diseases to reducing carbon emissions, promoting effective industrial manufacturing processes, creating pest-resistant crops, and ebeni in challenging areas such as forensic sciences and biodefence.

It further proves the importance of graduates with a Bachelor of biotechnology degree in Malaysia