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Applications Of Biotechnology in the Agricultural Industry

Agriculture has been a driving force for the advancement of human civilization since we

shifted from being a hunter-gatherer society to mass food cultivators. Since then, our demand

for agricultural product have increased exponentially forcing us to adopt new farming

strategies and techniques to meet the demands of a rapidly growing population. Several

applications in the field of agricultural biotechnology can be used to address some of the

concerns revolving around producing and supplying agricultural products Agricultural

biotechnology is a scientific discipline that includes a wide range of applications for

improving plant and animal products. This field is constantly progressing, allowing

agricultural produce to increase while decreasing farming expenses. In addition, food quality,

safety and the overall environmental quality can improve with the application of these

agribiotechnologies. Genetic engineering is a major concept in agricultural biotechnology

that can be used to manage weeds, protect against disease, and improve overall harvest

quality.


Herbicide-tolerant crops can be developed by means of genetic engineering, creating the

opportunity for increased yields and the reduced costs. For example, transgenic herbicide

tolerant crops such as soybeans, cotton, and corn allow for the use of lower-risk herbicides

that break down faster in soil reducing the current negative effects herbicides have on the

environment. Herbicide-tolerant crops are especially well-suited to no-till or reduced-tillage

agriculture systems, which help to reduced moisture loss and to protect the soil from erosion.


Furthermore, genetic engineering can be used to protect crops from diseases that affect their

production. The papaya ringspot virus, for example, threatened the papaya industry until Dr.

Paula Tennant at the University of the West Indies developed disease-resistant papayas

through genetic engineering. Finally, genetically modified crops can improve specific quality

traits. For example, golden rice is a transgenic rice with increased levels of beta-carotene that

was developed to address vitamin A deficiencies in the Indian population.

These application of genetically modifying an organism only scratch the surface of how

agribiotechnology can be used to modify organism genetics in order to increase agricultural

yields. Other agribiotechnology applications include tissue culture, micropropagation, and

molecular breeding with marker assisted selection. The overall application of biotechnology

to the industry can increase crop quality and yields, making farming more profitable.


By Zavare Davidson

References

Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ELAC). (2010). A study on applicability of biotechnology to development in the Caribbean: Oppurtunities and Risk. https://www.cepal.org/sites/default/files/publication/files/38632/LCCARL281_en.pdf

Elena, G. M., Ramona, B. E., & Holban, A. M. (2018). Approved Genetically Engineered Foods: Types, Properties, and Economic Concerns. In Genetically Engineered Foods (pp. 85–107). https://doi.org/10.1016/b978-0-12-811519-0.00004-2

Herbicide Tolerant Crops - Cooperative Extension: Agriculture - University of Maine Cooperative Extension. (n.d.). Cooperative Extension: Agriculture. Retrieved May 4, 2022, from https://extension.umaine.edu/agriculture/agriculture-water-quality/herbicide-tolerant-crops/#:~:text=Canola%2C%20soybeans%2C%20and%20field%20corn

Izquierdo, J., & De la Riva, G. A. (2000). Plant biotechnology and food security in Latin America and the Caribbean. Electronic Journal of Biotechnology, 3(1). https://doi.org/10.2225/vol3-issue1-fulltext-1

U.S. Department Of Agriculture. (n.d.). Biotechnology FAQs. Www.usda.gov. https://www.usda.gov/topics/biotechnology/biotechnology-frequently-asked-questions-faqs#:~:text=The%20application%20of%20biotechnology%20in


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