Beyond familiar GMOs: How biotech is improving other products

April 28, 2015
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Most everyone knows that biotechnology produces cures and therapies for healthcare; but not everyone knows that biotechnology is also applied to products that are in every home. Specifically, industrial biotechnology uses enzymes and micro-organisms to make biobased products in sectors such as chemicals, food ingredients, detergents, paper, textiles and biofuels.

1. Beer, Wine, and Liquor

Alcohol production is one of the most basic applications of industrial biotechnology. For instance, beer is made from water, a starch source such as barley, brewer’s yeast and a flavoring such as hops. The starch in the barley must be converted to sugar by enzymes (which are activated when the barley is malted) then fermented (the brewer’s yeast metabolizes the sugars to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide). Enzymes and microbes are two common tools used in industrial biotechnology.

2. Greener Fuels

Industrial biotechnology is being used in the production of advanced biofuels that reduce our reliance on oil. The same way they make beer, enzymes and microbes can efficiently and cost-effectively convert biomass (such as crop residues, switchgrass, and hybrid wood plants) into cellulosic ethanol.

3. Sustainable Household and Personal Care Products

Many household and personal care products are currently made with petroleum. With industrial biotechnology, manufacturers can produce household and personal care products with renewable ingredients instead.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: 10 Little-Known Ways Biotech Is Working To Improve Everyday Products

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