How Biotechnology Helps in Agriculture

In agriculture, the application of biotechnology includes science technology such as GMOs, Bt cotton, and plants resistant to pestilence. It helps to change and increase the farming efficiency of plants, animals as well as microorganisms. Vaccine, tissue cultivation, genetic modification techniques also are employed. In this article, we will see how biotechnology helps in agriculture.

Agricultural Before Biotechnology

Thanks to the Green Revolution, food production worldwide increased tremendously between the 1930s as well as the 1960s. This revolution essentially included its use, enhanced uses of fertilizers, and improved irrigation strategies of high-yielding crop varieties. Even if the green revolution tripled nationwide food supply, the rising population still wasn’t enough.

Agrochemicals (fertilizers and plants) have also been used by farmers to boost crop yields. For farmers in developed countries, however, agrochemicals are just too costly. The use of such chemical products also contributes to the toxicity of the atmosphere. Furthermore, crop yields using established varieties and traditional breeding are challenging to raise further.

Is there really a possibility of using our plant genetics expertise to generate new species and increase yields? Do we have a more sustainable way to minimize its use of pesticides and fertilizers? Yes. Genetically engineered crops that address all of the above issues have come about from agricultural biotechnology.

Biotechnology in the Agricultural Field

The huge population growth has led to a growing demand for services and basic needs like shelter, food, and clothing. The development of land for crop production is another effect of population growth. This local cultivation is just a small region. We have to make a big effort to meet requirements with minimal resources. The face of this situation has been modified in agriculture with biotechnology.

Biotech technology is the technology used for the creation or modification of goods for a variety of purposes to alter or control some biological system or living system. It is commonly used in various areas, and agriculture has been one of them. Researchers have proposed various options to boost food production. Genetically engineered farming is a choice, with agriculture-focused on agrochemicals and organic farming.

The Green Revolution was indeed a start to increase food production, but it could not satisfy the rising demands. The concept of improving agricultural varieties was subsequently proposed. But farmers do not feel the agrochemicals feasible. Furthermore, their environmental problems limited their use.

GMO

You really should have heard every now and then the word “GMO” used during news or even in the people surrounding you. What does that mean? The term “genetically modified organisms” refers to GMOs. The genetically engineered genes of GMOs shall be plants, bacteria, animals, or fungi. The following methods shall be used for the use of genetically modified or GM crops:

  • It’s more tolerant to pressures like drought, heat, cold, and so on.
  • They are immune to pesticides and thus less reliant on chemicals.
  • Genetically modified crops contribute to reducing the losses after harvest.
  • They contribute to increasing plants’ use of minerals so that soil fertility is avoided early.
  • The nutritional value of genetically modified plants is improved. Example – enriched rice with vitamin A.

Genetic engineering also helps to build custom-made for industries such as oils, starches as well as pharmaceuticals aimed at providing alternative resources. Let’s all look at some examples of genetically modified plants and their usefulness.

Bt Cotton

This form of cotton is genetically engineered. ‘Bt’ seems to be the Bacillus thuringiensis microbe. This microbe creates a protein or an insecticide toxin which destroys other insects, like the cigarette, flies, mosquitoes, and kite, etc. Why is the Bacillus protein not toxic?

It remains inactive throughout the Bacillus as protoxin. Only after the alkaline pH in the intestine comes into contact is it triggered when it is ingested by the insect. The activated toxin then attaches to and produces pores throughout the surface of epithelial cells. The cells are then swelling and lysis causing the insect’s death.

Scientists isolated as well as introduced the Bt toxin genes from Bacillus thuringiensis into different plants, including cotton. ‘Bt cotton,’ however, is variety. As most Bt toxins are insect-based, it is the cultivation as well as the focused pest to decide which genes should be integrated. A gene called toxin protein cry codes, and a variety of such genes exist there. The cryIAc and cryIIAb genes, for instance, are used to encode cotton bollworms toxins while the cryIAb gene monitors the “grain borer” insect.

Plants that are Pest Resistant 

Many nematodes are living in many hosts such as animals, plants, and sometimes even human beings as parasites. A particular nematode, ‘Meloidogyne incognita, infects tobacco roots and leads to a significant reduction in production. A new strategy focused on the mechanism of RNA interference has been implemented to avoid this infestation.

In all eukaryotes, RNAi is a mobile defense tool. The complementary dual-stranded RNA silence of a certain mRNA which binds and inhibits the translation of such an mRNA. A virus that contains RNA genomes or genetic elements known as ‘transposons’ infections can result in other RNA.

This method was used by scientists, and nematode-specific genes have been inserted into host plants utilizing vectors of agrobacterium. The added DNA generates sensory as well as sensory strands in host cells. These additional strands then generate DSRNA and trigger RNAi, silencing the nematode’s basic RNA. The parasite cannot, therefore, live in the host expressing this RNA leading to resistance to just this parasite.

Improves Crops Yield 

One or two genes may also be transferred into some kind of crop using biotechnology techniques to give this crop a new characteristic. It is accomplished in the expectation that its production will increase. However, these yield rises were hard to achieve. Current techniques in genetics work much better with individual genetic effects – characteristics inherited simply from Mendelian. A large number of genes, each of which has a small impact on total yield, influence several of the genetic characteristics associated with crop yield, like enhanced growth. So there is still a lot of research being done throughout this area, particularly plant genetic research.

Final Words

So now you know how biotechnology has brought a significant change in the agricultural sector. These changes have enhanced production and helped in many other ways in agriculture.

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How Nanotechnology Will Change the Medical Industry

Nanotechnology is opening new boundaries of the life sciences industries in healthcare. The nanotechnology industry has a tremendous potential to revolutionize a variety of health care issues, including diagnostics, operating devices, surveillance of disease, regenerative medicine, the manufacture of vaccines, and the delivery of drugs. It also provides opportunities to better cure different illnesses by means of sophisticated scientific instruments that could be used to identify medicinal products. In this article, we will check how nanotechnology is bringing a significant change in the medical industry. So read and find out.

About Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology focuses on atomic and molecular device engineering. It blends elements of physics and molecular chemistry with engineering to gain an advantage from over unique property changes of nanoscale materials.

The human body’s failure often to consume whole doses of medications is a major problem facing the healthcare industry. And here’s the image of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology may be used to transfer the medicine to a particular body cell, thus reducing the risk of failure or refusal.

The ability to study the human body, his medicinal treatments, and medical equipment on a nano-level means that medicine is actually much more accurate. This technology has been used for two broad applications by the healthcare industry: diagnostic and medical equipment and nanomedicine. As nanotechnology progresses rapidly, new diagnostics, as well as therapies with greater success rates, can be developed continuously.

Here are all the four key forms nanotechnology changes the healthcare future:

Nanomedicine

In the treatment and diagnosis of a number of diseases utilizing nanoparticles in healthcare applications, nano-electronic biosensors and molecular nanotechnologies apply nanomedicine. Nanomedicine Today, nanomedicine has been used to create intelligent pills and cancer treatments.

Smart pills

The term intelligent pills reserve the formulation and design of nano-level electronic devices, which perform advanced functions, including sensing, imagery, and drug administration. Nanotechnology has contributed to the creation of many different smart pills, including the PillCam, mini camera capsules, and dose-tracking tablets.

The ‘Atmo Gas capsule,’ which tests gasses in the human intestine to report any condition when swallowed, is a more advanced intelligent pill. Its sensors are used to detect the levels of carbon dioxide, oxygen, and all harmful substances in the body. The applications include the diagnosis of gastrointestinal disturbances, the detection of malignant digestive organs, and the monitoring of food sensitivity to facilitate individual diet and dietary plans.

In the meantime, MIT creates ‘intelligent sensor capsules’ to avoid such a need to inject medications into the stomach. It’s also delivered orally and then reveals vital signs for diagnosis and treatment monitoring before entering the organ. It also includes rooms that could be used for pre-loading drugs to be released into the body’s specific areas.

Cancer detection & treatment

The disruption to healthy cells of the body, mainly during the procedure, is indeed a key issue with daily chemotherapy and radiation. New nanomedicine strategies throughout the treatment of skin cancer have been used that enable efficient delivery to specific tumor places or cells with low toxic side effects of medication as well as other therapeutic treatments.

A new way to monitor cancer cells throughout the bloodstream, namely NanoFlare, is being used with nanomedicine. NanoFlares are particles that are engineered to bind to genetic objectives in cancer cells and create light when this specific genetic target is detected. San Diego scientists have been working on a system in which nano-sized exosomes are collected and analyzed to scan biomarkers for cancer of the pancreas.

Nanobots

Nanobots are micro-scale robots that are mostly miniatures. They may be placed throughout the body for intracellular structure repair and replacement. They may even reproduce themselves to correct a genetic defect or even cure diseases by the substitution of DNA molecules. This property is currently under construction.

Nanobots were currently examined with a microscopic needle inserted into its retina for eye surgery. Surgeons could use a specialized magnetic field to guide this needle.

Nanobots could also be used by drilling into them to remove artery blockages. Stanford University and Michigan University scientists have collaborated with the creation of carbon nanotubes, charged via an arterial plaque-eating compound. The threat of heart disease can be reduced.

University of Toronto scientists create nanobots that look like unfolded cubes to conduct rapid biopsies of suspected malignant masses. These cubes are folded until the tissue is reached and a sample is taken. These biopsies are claimed to be faster and more exact than those performed by human surgeons.

DNA-based nanobots for specific disease cells also are made. An “origami nanorobot’ was made of DNA to carry a molecular payload by the scientists of Harvard Medical School. Their team has shown effectively how the robot delivers molecules that cause cells to die.

Nanofibers

Nanofibers have been used in dressings for wounds and also in surgical textiles, in implants, in fabric engineering, and also in components of the artificial organ.

Scientists are creating ‘intelligent bandages’ that absorb themselves into the tissue until they are left on the site. Embedded nanofibers will contain antibiotics, coagulants, and even sensors in such smart bandages for the detection of evidence of disease.

A pH-responsive virtual bandage has been developed by the Institute of Advanced Study in science and technology, India, which can provide a pH-appropriate medicine also for the wound. This was achieved by improving the use of a cotton nanotechnology-based patch, which makes bandages more affordable using easily available and renewable materials such as cotton and jute.

Vaxxas is a vaccine delivery agency that utilizes nanoparticles to put the vaccine directly further into immune cells throughout their skin. It is mostly a nanofibre patch that utilizes nanoparticles. This reduces the risk of contamination, facilitates the process, and prevents vaccine cooling.

Nanotech Wearables

Cloth-based nanotechnology is indeed a new but common method of remote patient surveillance in healthcare. These wearables have nanosensors embedded within the fabric which record medical information such as pulse, blood pressure, and sweat. It aims to save lives by notification of almost any adverse changes facing the wearer as well as medical professionals.

Nanowear is a US-based startup, the pioneer of such an innovation. In 2019, NanoSENSE, a diagnostic validation clinical trial, was unveiled as a heart failure treatment system. During this analysis, SimpleSENSE, an undergarment monitoring as well as a closed-loop learning machine, was created.

It is used in the manufacture and recording of stroke, phonocardiography, and heartbeat, through its proprietary, patented, FDA-approved clothes nanosensors. It also includes ECG technology multi-channel evaluation which tracks the variability of the heart rate, the respiratory rate, the thoracic impedance, behavior, and posture.

In July 2020, Nanowear announced a collaboration for enhanced COVID-19 remote diagnostic testing with Hackensack Meridian Health Systems. They are intended to track patients with Nanowear cloth-based nanosensors that are verified or suspect of COVID-19 and therefore can track changes in physiological and biomarkers that may be clinically degraded, and that may need medical attention.

Seeing these innovations, we can conclude that Nanotechnology brings a significant change in the medical sector and will continue to bring changes.

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