Biotechnology and Nanotechnology; Nature, Scope and application, Ethical, Social, and Legal issues, Government Policies.

Biotechnology is defined as the industrial application of living organisms and their biological processes such as biochemistry, microbiology, and genetic engineering, in order to make best use of the microorganisms for the benefit of mankind. Modern biotechnology provides breakthrough products and technologies to combat debilitating and rare diseases, reduce our environmental footprint, feed the hungry, use less and cleaner energy, and have safer, cleaner and more efficient industrial manufacturing processes.

Biotechnology began in the 1970s after the development of genetic engineering that allowed scientists to modify the genetic material of living cells. Genetic engineering is the manipulation of DNA molecules to produce modified plants, animals, or other organisms. DNA is the part of a cell that controls the genetic information of an animal or plant. DNA is a double-stranded molecule that is present in every cell of an organism. The genetic information is contained in individual units or sections of DNA called genes. The genes that are passed from parent to offspring determine the traits that the offspring will have.

Applications of Biotechnology

  1. Health and medicine

Fighting infectious diseases : Biotechnology is used extensively in the study of infectious diseases such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), and influenza. As a result more effective pharmaceuticals have been developed.

Development of vaccines and antibiotics : Using technology, microorganisms are used to develop antibiotics and vaccines to cure diseases. For example, bacteria Bacillus polymysea is used to produce polymyxin B (antibiotic used to cure urinary tract infections), fungus Penicillium notatum is used to produce penicillin (used to cure pneumonia, and many other bacterial infections.)

Treating genetic disorders : Disease can occur when genes become defective due to mutations. With advancements in biotechnology, in the near future it will be possible to use gene therapy to replace an abnormal or faulty gene with a normal copy of the same gene. It may be used to treat ailments such as heart disease, inherited diseases such as SCID, and Thalassaemia.

In forensic science : A lot of New techniques have been developed such as DNA fingerprinting, besides having a number of other applications which have facilitated the speedy identification of the criminals.

  1. Environment

Cleaning up and managing the environment : Cleaning up the environment using living organisms is called bioremediation. Naturally occurring, as well as genetically modified microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi and enzymes are used to break down toxic and hazardous substances present in the environment.

  1. Agriculture

Biotechnology in agriculture

For about 10,000 years , farmers have been improving wild plants and animals through the selection and breeding of desirable characteristics. This breeding has resulted in the domesticated plants and animals that are commonly used in crop and livestock agriculture. In the twentieth century, breeding became more sophisticated, as the traits that breeders select for include increased yield, disease and pest resistance, drought resistance and enhanced flavor. Traits are passed from one generation to the next through genes, which are made of DNA. All living things—including the fruits, vegetables and meat that we eat—contain genes that tell cells how to function. Recently, scientists have learned enough to begin to identify and work with the genes (DNA) that are responsible for traits.

Agricultural biotechnology is a collection of scientific techniques used to improve plants, animals and microorganisms. Based on an understanding of DNA, scientists have developed solutions to increase agricultural productivity. Starting from the ability to identify genes that may confer advantages on certain crops, and the ability to work with such characteristics very precisely, biotechnology enhances breeders’ ability to make improvements in crops and livestock. Biotechnology enables improvements that are not possible with traditional crossing of related species alone.

Technological aspects of agricultural biotechnology

Genetic engineering

Scientists have learned how to move genes from one organism to another. This has been called genetic modification (GM), genetic engineering (GE) or genetic improvement (GI). Regardless of the name, the process allows the transfer of useful characteristics (such as resistance to a disease) into a plant, animal or microorganism by inserting genes (DNA) from another organism. Virtually all crops improved with transferred DNA (often called GM crops or GMOs) to date have been developed to aid farmers to increase productivity by reducing crop damage from weeds, diseases or insects.

Molecular markers

Traditional breeding involves selection of individual plants or animals based on visible or measurable traits. By examining the DNA of an organism, scientists can use molecular markers to select plants or animals that possess a desirable gene, even in the absence of a visible trait. Thus, breeding is more precise and efficient. For example, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture has used molecular markers to obtain cowpea resistant to bruchid (a beetle), disease-resistant white yam and cassava resistant to Cassava Mosaic Disease, among others. Another use of molecular markers is to identify undesirable genes that can be eliminated in future generations.

Molecular diagnostics

Molecular diagnostics are methods to detect genes or gene products that are very precise and specific. Molecular diagnostics are used in agriculture to more accurately diagnose crop/livestock diseases.


Biotechnology-derived vaccines are used in livestock and humans. They may be cheaper, better and/or safer than traditional vaccines. They are also stable at room temperature, and do not need refrigerated storage; this is an important advantage for smallholders in tropical countries. Some are new vaccines, which offer protection for the first time against some infectious illnesses. For example, in the Philippines, biotechnology has been used to develop an improved vaccine to protect cattle and water buffalo against hemorrhagic septicemia, a leading cause of death for both species.

Tissue culture

Tissue culture is the regeneration of plants in the laboratory from disease-free plant parts. This technique allows for the reproduction of disease-free planting material for crops. Examples of crops produced using tissue culture include citrus, pineapples, avocados, mangoes, bananas, coffee and papaya.


Biofertilizers are defined as preparations containing living cells or latent cells of efficient strains of microorganisms that help crop plants’ uptake of nutrients by their interactions in the rhizosphere when applied through seed or soil.  They accelerate certain microbial processes in the soil which augment the extent of availability of nutrients in a form easily assimilated by plants.

Very often microorganisms are not as efficient in natural surroundings as one would expect them to be and therefore artificially multiplied cultures of efficient selected microorganisms play a vital role in accelerating the microbial processes in soil.

Use of biofertilizers is one of the important components of integrated nutrient management, as they are cost effective and renewable source of plant nutrients to supplement the chemical fertilizers for sustainable agriculture. Several microorganisms and their association with crop plants are being exploited in the production of biofertilizers. They can be grouped in different ways based on their nature and function.

Different types of biofertilizers 


Rhizobium is a soil habitat bacterium, which can able to colonize the legume roots and fixes the atmospheric nitrogen symbiotically. The morphology and physiology of Rhizobium will vary from free-living condition to the bacteroid of nodules. They are the most efficient biofertilizer as per the quantity of nitrogen fixed concerned. They have seven genera and highly specific to form nodule in legumes, referred as cross inoculation group.

Rhizobium inoculant was first made in USA and commercialized by private enterprise in 1930s and the strange situation at that time has been chronicled by Fred.

Initially, due to absence of efficient bradyrhizobial strains in soil, soybean inoculation at that time resulted in bumper crops but incessant inoculation during the last four decades by US farmers has resulted in the build up of a plethora of inefficient strains in soil whose replacement by efficient strains of bradyrhizobia has become an insurmountable problem.


Of the several species of Azotobacter, A. chroococcum happens to be the dominant inhabitant in arable soils capable of fixing N2 (2-15 mg N2 fixed /g of carbon source) in culture media.

The bacterium produces abundant slime which helps in soil aggregation. The numbers of A. chroococcum in Indian soils rarely exceeds 105/g soil due to lack of organic matter and the presence of antagonistic microorganisms in soil.


Azospirillum lipoferum and A. brasilense (Spirillum lipoferum in earlier literature) are primary inhabitants of soil, the rhizosphere and intercellular spaces of root cortex of graminaceous plants.

They perform the associative symbiotic relation with the graminaceous plants.   The bacteria of Genus Azospirillum are  N2 fixing organisms isolated from the root and above ground parts of a variety of crop plants. They are Gram negative, Vibrio or Spirillum having abundant accumulation of polybetahydroxybutyrate (70 %) in cytoplasm.

Five species of Azospirillum have been described to date A. brasilense, A.lipoferum, A.amazonense, A.halopraeferens and A.irakense.  The organism proliferates under both anaerobic and aerobic conditions but it is preferentially micro-aerophilic in the presence or absence of combined nitrogen in the medium.


Both free-living as well as symbiotic cyanobacteria (blue green algae) have been harnessed in rice cultivation in India. A composite culture of BGA having heterocystous Nostoc, Anabaena, Aulosira etc. is given as primary inoculum in trays, polythene lined pots and later mass multiplied in the field for application as soil based flakes to the rice growing field at the rate of 10 kg/ha. The final product is not free from extraneous contaminants and not very often monitored for checking the presence of desiredalgal flora.

Once so much publicized as a biofertilizer for the rice crop, it has not presently attracted the attention of rice growers all over India except pockets in the Southern States, notably Tamil Nadu. The benefits due to algalization could be to the extent of 20-30 kg N/ha under ideal conditions but the labour oriented methodology for the preparation of BGA biofertilizer is in itself a limitation. Quality control measures are not usually followed except perhaps for random checking for the presence of desired species qualitatively.

Azolla  Azolla is a free-floating water fern that floats in water and fixes atmospheric nitrogen in association with nitrogen fixing blue green alga Anabaena azollae. Azolla fronds consist of sporophyte with a floating rhizome and small overlapping bi-lobed leaves and roots. Rice growing areas in South East Asia and other third World countries have recently been evincing increased interest in the use of the symbiotic N2 fixing water fern Azolla either as an alternate nitrogen sources or as a supplement to commercial nitrogen fertilizers. Azolla is used as biofertilizer for wetland rice and it is known to contribute 40-60 kg N/ha per rice crop.


  1. Industry

Biotechnology has been used in the industry to produce new products for human consumption. Food additives have been developed which help in the preservation of food. Microorganisms are used in the mass production of items such as cheese, yoghurt, and alcohol.

Biotechnology through Genetic engineering has made food crops more resistant to disease, but the mere act of modification of the naturally selected food crops may actually disturb the delicate balance of biodiversity which exists in nature causing a disturbance to the natural balance.

The production of GMOs has negative impacts on the natural ecosystem which are not apparent now but will be apparent in the future. For example, genetic changes in a particular plant or animal might render it harmful to another organism higher up in the food chain and ultimately this effect may build up to destroy the entire food chain in which that plant plays a role.

GMOs have been known to retain some of the genetically modified DNA in the final product made for human consumption. Such remnants of genetic material are harful to human health and can cause production of previously unknown allergens.

Genetically modified plants and animals have the potential to replace traditional farming or say poultry and meat-producing practices. This will result in destruction of economies based on these products.

In the context of applications of genetic engineering in human life, misuse of this technology in the production of biological warfare or weapons is a very major disadvantage.

Genetic engineering is being used to create human organs but in the long run if it can create genetically modified, perfect human specimens who are better than the creators than this may be disastrous.

Nature selection in man and the resulting diversity of the human genetic pool is essential for the survival of the species. Genetic engineering will interfere with this process too causing unknown complications.

The progress of science in the 20th and 21st centuries exploded, creating technologies that reshaped society and extended lives. The pace of change was so great that it took society years to start asking questions about the ethics or morality of new developments. Now, humanity is at a major crossroads, where further investment in biotechnologies could change the way humans live and reproduce. Here are ethical issues attached with biotechnology:

  • the use of genetic information to create medicine contributes to the rising cost of drugs, and shifts attention away from designing affordable drugs available for mass production.
  • Creation of designer babies by manipulating gene is another troublesome issue. Designer babies are children enhanced through gene manipulation to meet certain mental, physical, and emotional demands of parents. The technology does not yet exist to manipulate the entire genome of a fetus, but research continues along this path.
  • Use of stem cells is one of the most controversial issue of biotechnology. creating new lines from embryonic stem cells is akin to abortion, and the destruction of any embryo for research purposes is an ethical violation.
  • With rising use of biotechnology, there is great pressure on the drug approval agency. This pressure of shortening the trial phase can remove the safeguards put in place to keep public safe.
  • The opponents of Genetically modified organism argue that these organism actually put the entire food supply at risk through the homogenization of plant life and the death of biodiversity. They also argue that insects and plant-destroying bacteria or diseases will continue to evolve with the GMOs, resulting in super-pests and super-diseases that are untreatable by modern methods. Finally, doctors argue that GMOs include antibiotics that make their way into the human body. Overconsumption of antibiotics is harmful, because those drugs lose their ability to fight off disease.
  • Biotechnology engineers and companies must find a way to address cost issues and make new advancements more affordable for the average consumer; otherwise, biotechnology will create a two-tiered society: those who can afford the medical treatments needed to live, and those who cannot.

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, announced the First National Biotechnology Development Strategy in September 2007. The implementation of Biotech Strategy 2007 has provided an insight into the enormous opportunities. Boundaries between disciplines once considered distant are now beginning to blur and as a consequence of their convergence given birth to newer opportunities and challenges. Thus, it was felt opportune to take a critical look at the Indian biotech sector as it will likely unfold over the next 5-6 years.

In year 2015, DBT announced “The National Biotechnology Development Strategy-2015-2020” (hereinafter referred to as ‘Strategy-II’), which was framed after a wider consultation with stakeholders. Strategy-II would seamlessly build on the earlier Strategy to accelerate the pace of growth of biotechnology sector at par with global requirements.

Key elements of Strategy-II are as follows:

Realizing that biotechnology has the potential to be a globally transformative intellectual enterprise of humankind, our renewed mission is to:

  • Provide impetus to fulfillment of the potential for a new understanding of life processes and utilizing the knowledge and tools to the advantage of humanity;
  • Launch a major, well-directed effort backed by significant investment for generation of biotech products, processes and technologies to enhance efficiency, productivity, safety and cost-effectiveness of agriculture, food and nutritional security; affordable health and wellness; environmental safety; clean energy and biofuel; and bio-manufacturing.
  • Empower, scientifically and technologically, India’s incomparable human resource;
  • Create a strong infrastructure for research, development and commercialization for a robust bioeconomy;
  • Establish India as a world class bio-manufacturing hub for developing and developed markets.

Guiding Principles that Will Drive the Strategy:

Consultations with stakeholders have identified the following 10 guiding principles that shall drive the renewed mission through Strategy-II.

  • Building a Skilled Workforce and Leadership
  • Revitalizing the Knowledge Environment at par with the Growing Bio-economy
  • Enhance Research Opportunities in Basic, Disciplinary and Inter-disciplinary Sciences
  • Encourage Use-inspired Discovery Research
  • Focus on Biotechnology Tools for Inclusive Development
  • Commercialization of Technology – Nurturing Innovation, Translational Capacity and Entrepreneurship
  • Biotechnology and Society – Ensuring a Transparent, Efficient and Globally Best Regulatory System and Communication Strategy
  • Biotechnology Cooperation – Fostering Global and National Alliances
  • Strengthen Institutional Capacity with Redesigned Governance Models
  • Create a Matrix of Measurement of Processes as well as Outcome

Sectoral Priorities:

The Department has identified following sectors to accelerate the pace of growth of biotechnology sector at par with global requirements.

  • Human Resource
  • Building Knowledge Environment
  • Research Opportunities: human genome research, vaccines, infectious & chronic disease biology, stem cells & regenerative medicine, basic research, translational research, human developmental and disease biology – maternal & child health, bioengineering and bio-design
  • Agriculture, Animal Heath and productivity
  • Medicinal and Aromatic Plants
  • Food fortification and biofortification
  • Bioprospecting, value-added biomass & products
  • Marine biotechnology & biodiversity
  • Environmental management, Clean bio-energy
  • Nurturing Entrepreneurship – IP Landscaping, Technology Transfer, Incubators, Entrepreneurship, SME Support Systems
  • Biotechnology and society
  • Biotechnology Cooperation

Major initiatives of the National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020:

  • Launch four major missions in healthcare, food and nutrition, clean energy and education
  • Create a technology development and translation network across India with global partnership, including 5 new clusters, 40 biotech incubators, 150 TTOs, and 20 bio-connect centres
  • Ensure strategic and focused investment in building the human capital by setting up a Life Sciences and Biotechnology Education Council

Nanotechnology relates to the technology of rearranging and processing of atoms and molecules to fabricate material to Nano specifications such as nano meters, the technology will enable scientist and engineers to see and manipulate matter at the molecular level atom by atom create new structure with fundamentally new molecular organic material and exploit the novel prospects at that scale

Scientific achievements of Nanotechnology the concept was first introduced in the year 1959 by an American scientist Richard Feynman who in his famous lectures there stated that there is a plenty of room left at the bottom indirectly mentioned about the techniques of manipulating matter at the bottom level including atoms and molecules the term nanotechnology was Defined by Tokyo scientist University professor in 1974 ,the main objective of Nanotechnology construction of new properties such as they are lighter smaller stronger and more precise
There are two approach in nanotechnology top down approach and bottom up approach.
In Top down approach Naino objects are constructed from real entities but it is expensive and time consuming the bottom up approach bills larger structure by Linking atoms by atoms using special molecular assembler it is based on a novel of the self assembly technique which is seen in the biological principle of Cell to cell attachment in the tissue repairing process

Nanomaterial can be organic nanomaterial or inorganic

Carbon based graphene and carbon nanotubes
Inorganic Nanomaterials include non particle nanoparticles of aluminium copper augur metal oxide like zinc oxide Nanomaterials , which are used to reduce to nanoscale can be of so different properties compared to word the exhibit on ARM and microscale enabling unique application the vastly increased ratio of surface area to volume lead to all changes in physical thermal and catalytic properties of Nanomaterials

Graphene :- the noble prize of Physics 2010 was awarded to to scientist for identification isolation and characterization of crossing which is a single layer of carbon put in a heads up configuration with Tuli crystalline structure it is composed of carbon atoms arranged in tightly bound structure just one attempt it is said that 3 million sheet of graphene on top of each other would be 1 millimetre thick properties of Graphene are:- extreme strength high electrical conductivity
Application of Graphene :- it can be used to make super strong material which art in elastic and lightweight to be used in making satellite and airplane it is transparent conductive and can be used in making flexible ultra thin touch screen devices graphing chips work faster than those made out of silicon and also tightly packed and can help make efficient computer it also increases the heat resistant and mechanical strength

Carbon nanotube is  graphene sheet rolled to form a cylinder nanotube it is hollow and its molecule discovered by Japanese researcher it is high strength strongest and is toughest material on earth in terms of tensile strength which is the ability to be distant stretching ,high electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity.

Nanosensors it is a device that make use of unique properties of Nanomaterials and nanoparticles to detect and new type of events in nanoscale
Chemical nanosensor are used to measure the magnitudes such as the concentration of a given gas the presence of a specific type of molecule the function of the most common type of chemical nanosensor is based on the fact that electronic properties of Carbon nanotube changed when different type of nanotubes are observed on top of them which locally increases or decreases the number of electrons able to move through carbon nanotube biological Nano sensor used to monitor biomolecular process for Jazz antibody antigen interaction it is usually composed of biological recognition system or bioreactor such as antibody protein and is able to detect cancer virus or bacteria

Nanocomposite materials created by introducing nanoparticles on carbon nanotubes into the matrix of microscopic sample material and the resulting nanocomposite may exhibit drastically enhanced properties

Application of Nanotechnology information and technology and electronics textile industry

In the field of Information Technology nanotech can be used to make tiny transistors of carbon nanotubes that help in developing Naino circuit this will lead to further miniaturization of computers making even more faster and compact the use of carbon nano Tech builders strongly increase the data storage capacity of hard disc replacing CRT with CMD as an electron gun can increase the efficiency of LED including achieving ultra thin flat panels automobiles Network Technology will help in manufacturing is stronger yet lighter and trees Recruiter automobile components the increase in surface area and volume ratio of engine due to use of CNT will make them utilise fuel more efficiently and reduce the exhaust of pollutant the engine will also benefit by becoming more heat resistant textile industry nanofiber make clothes water and it rain repellent and wrinkle free the Lotus is that which give the self cleaning properties also indirectly imported Lotus effect is seen in the Lotus in the form of presence of numerous hydrophobic Nano components due to which the water droplet by taking the dirt Trickle down there by self cleaning the loade

Nanomedicine Nanotechnology in area of Health and Science her giving rise to branch of medicine known as nanomedicine which is unique application which can be used in disease diagnosis Nanotechnology in able the development of nanoscale Diagnostic device in the form of leopard ship acting as bio Nano electromechanical devices through which when blood sample is made to pass through it can detect cancer bacterial and viral infection lab on chip deals with handling of small fluid volume less than equal in this low low fluid volume conception produces less waste and analyses is better faster

Drug Delivery Nano Technology can be used in formation of nanosized drugs which will help in lowering overall truck conduction and side effects by depositing active agent at specific places in body there by ensuring truck delivery with self precession this will improve bioavailability of drug which refer to rate and extent of absorption of drugs
Cancer diagnosis and treatment cancer diagnosis and treatment nanotechnology can locate and eliminate cancer cell using gold nanoshells Metro sales are targeted to bind cancerous cell by attaching antibodies to Nano self service bi irradiating area of the mall with an infrared laser which passed through breast feeding gold nanoshell significantly to cause death of Cancer cell
Tissue engineering nanotechnology can help to repair damaged tissue through tissue engineering making eating factor it includes use of a biodegradable nanomaterial such as polycaprolactone coated with collagen to promote Cell to cell attachment it is repairing process

Medical nanorobots nanorobot is a technique of creating robot at microscopic scale of NM these nanosized robots can never get human body transport important molecules manipulate manual focus object and communicate with solution by way of miniature Centre this computer control nanorobots can be used in Cancer detection and treatment there is no dressed up as Radiation therapy and chemotherapy which open end up destroying Mohanlal fan control robot will be able to distinguish between different cell type cancerous and normal cell by checking their surface antigen medical nanorobots acting as artificial RBC are called the Spiro cried which can deliver hundred times of season than normal self Shimla Lee medical nanorobots acting as artificial white blood cell can destroy bacteria in process

Energy application nanotechnology not only use of renewable and environment friendly source of energy but increase efficiency of energy production by then the ideal fuel for future is said to be hydrogen due to its lightweight and environmental harmless is hydrogen fuel cells were used in automobiles air pollution would be reduced but it can be used only if hydrogen is stored and transported in safe efficient and economical be by using container is made up of nanomaterial nanomaterial can increase conversion efficiency of solar cell under photovoltaic effect by using nanoparticles of Indian selenide is solar LG into electrical energy when compared to present use of Silicon Solar cell smart Windows having Nano coating of vanadium dioxide mixed with tungsten metal act as heat reflective still alone all visible light to pass through window the smart Windows are designed to Z and Adobe to the environment by altering Nano thickness and mixture of coating this makes offices and home today mankol without excessive use of AC there by drastically reducing financial and environmental cost

Nanofiltration nanotechnology can be helpful for wastewater treatment producing safe and clean drinking water extremely small size of possible filtration of bacteria and other infection agent nanoparticles of iron oxide are extremely effective at binding and removing arsenic from groundwater there by preventing arsenic groundwater poisoning Santhanam nanoparticle absorb phosphates from aqueous environment applying these in bonds and tools effectively remove available for sides and brother and growth and multiplication of LT that is a lead role so this will benefit commercial fishponds with spend huge amount of money to the remove algae
Agriculture nanotechnology has potential to Revolution allies agriculture sector by becoming integral part of Precision farming it is the site specific form of Management using information technology to maximize output that is crop yield while minimising infoset fertilizers and pesticides through geographic information system this will increase the quality of decision making which in turn will make weed control pest control and fertilizer application site specific size and effective

Can customer goods smart packaging and food safety and Technology will help develop a smart packaging to optimise product sales like nanocomposite coating process could improve food packaging by placing antimicrobial agent directly on sources of Kotak self nanocomposite could modify the behaviour of files by increasing their barrier properties including mechanical chemical and microbial example silicate nanoparticle can reduce entrance of Oxygen and prevent exit of myself while silver nanoparticle import antimicrobial which include antibacterial and antifungal properties Nano Technology can help to detect contamination of food and prevent Biotech by using an infectious bacteria or virus.

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