Written by Omar Faid.
What is biotechnology?
Biotechnology or biotech is a man-made way of taking advantage of living
organisms, their components, their by-product, and other biological systems to
help in the manufacturing or production of a specific product or develop a
process that can be utilized for special industrial applications and use-cases.
The applications of biotech span a wide range of industries and use-cases,
utilizing various techniques to accomplish goals ranging from creating
medication to food production. Brewing and baking bread are examples of
processes that fall within the concept of biotechnology. Such traditional
processes usually utilize the living organisms in their natural form.
Nowadays, biotechnology will generally involve a more advanced modification of
the biological system or organism. Biotechnology is being utilized in not just
pharmaceutical research and the food industry but also in fuel production,
animal breeding for biodiversity, chemical production and even for strategic
military applications such as bioweapons and hazardous materials which can be
very dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands. This is the reason why
scientists and companies who work with and on this kind of technology follow
strict protocols specifically regarding testing and analysis, ensuring that
products will be used in morally correct and ethical ways and seek only
improvement upon life and the environment.
Biotech can be utilized in different ways. That’s why biotech companies are
split into different categories:
– Grey Biotech
– Blue Biotech
– White Biotech
– Green Biotech
– Yellow Biotech
– Red Biotech
Each category offers solutions to different problems because as mentioned above,
biotechnology spans a wide range of industries and real-world applications.
Grey biotechnology includes all biotechnological processes for the treatment of
for example, drinking water, cleaning of wastewater, remediation of contaminated
soils and so on. It is the practice of introducing plants and microorganisms
into an environment to essentially work as a filter to remove carbons, metals
and other pollutants or contaminants with the sole purpose to enhance
Blue biotechnology includes all processes that take advantage of marine animals.
Particularly microorganisms that are found at great ocean depths and that live
under extreme conditions. Microorganisms are a possible source of biological
substances which can be utilized in the tech industry or for technical
White biotechnology is used in the production of enzymes for our detergents and
cleaning agents. Other ingredients in our detergents and cleaning agents (for
example biosurfactants and citric acid) are also manufactured using white
This branch of biotechnology deals with specifically targeted modifications in
the genome of plants. With the help of genetic engineering, higher quality food
and useful plants are grown. For example, grain types are made less sensitive to
weather influences and pests.
Yellow biotechnology, also called “insect biotechnology”, is the use of active
genomes of an insect in agriculture and medicine.
Red biotechnology, also known as “medical biotechnology”, comprises the areas of
biotechnology that deal with the development of therapeutic and diagnostic
processes which is basically everything from biochips for medical diagnostics to
personalized medicine to drug production and gene therapy.