Industrial biotechnology is the application of modern molecular biology techniques for the improvement of industrial processes for manufacturing commodities such as chemicals, biofuels, and pharmaceuticals. Developments and advancements in genetic engineering to modify or transfer specific genes from one organism to another have enabled biotechnology to become more efficient and applicable to a broad array of commercial markets.
Industrial biotechnology will play a critical role in efforts to address global warming and climate change. For example, by converting renewable feedstocks instead of fossil fuels into energy fuels, the emission of green house gases that effect climate change may be reduced. In addition, environmental biotechnology will further promote “green” processes for bioremediation and biodegradation of wastes and other environmental harmful contaminants.
Biofuels have increasingly become central to discussions concerning the enhancement of long-term U.S. strategies for energy, economic and national security by reducing reliance on foreign oil, by increasing energy efficiency and utilizing alternative clean-energy resources. As a result of these energy security, environmental, and economic concerns, energy related mandates and incentives in the United States and abroad, such as in the European Union and South America, have been a primary driver for the biofuels market.
The opportunity created by current and pending legislation is immense, with biofuels being one of the crucial investments for success. Application of biotechnology for biofuels can be primarily focused on two areas:
- transgenic crops for higher yields
- biomass conversion to biofuels
In order to make biofuels more economically viable, higher yields of crops used for biofuels will be required, regardless of whether the source is corn, cellulosic or lignin biomass. Leveraging innovative technologies developed by the agricultural industry will be crucial for the advancement of biofuels as the issue of net greenhouse gas emissions continues to be debated. Furthermore, opportunities for efficient and economically feasible bioconversion of bio-based materials into sugars and subsequent fermentation into biofuels are and will become more available as federal and state legislations are adopted and implemented.
Environmental biotechnology is the utilization of biological systems for the remediation of contaminated areas and for environmentally-friendly processes, such as the use of microbes for waste treatment or the efficient clean-up of petroleum spills. Also commonly referred to as bioremediation, the utility of microbes to break down or digests waste chemicals into harmless byproducts has distinct advantages over traditional methods of decontamination. Bioremediation can also be employed for degradation of other hydrocarbons, polymers and plastics, pharmaceuticals, radionuclides and other toxic metals. Certain plants and microbes have been identified that absorbs mercury, lead, and arsenic and could be used to treat industrial waste.
Environmental biotechnology offers an opportunity to provide better treatments for solid waste and wastewater. Biotechnology-based treatment systems, from backyard septic tanks to large animal farms, can now be optimized for maximum results while reducing environmental concerns.
The Tiber Creek Partners’ team of subject matter experts allows for optimal assistance to companies involved in industrial biotechnology. Our expertise in procurement and science will allow us to support clients looking to breakthrough into the industrial biotechnology arena and utilize the Federal Government’s interest in these novel technologies.