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Biotechnology Products A Short Overview
By Themedica on August 18, 2008 5:22 AM |
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Biotechnology is the science of making use of living organisms and their constituents to produce services and goods. Biotechnological products are produced by manipulating and modifying organisms, usually at molecular level. It is a vast discipline and has numerous practical applications in agriculture, medicine and industry.

biotechnology-products.jpg Biotechnology brings together the knowledge, procedures and practices a large array of disciplines including genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, embryology, cellular biology, biochemistry, immunology, cell biology and more. It also spans across other fields such as chemical engineering, information technology, and robotics.

Just in the territory of agriculture, applications of the field can be witnessed in the form of modified agricultural produce including improve yield from crops, better immunity of crops to environmental stresses, enhanced nutritional qualities of food crops, qualitative improvements in texture, taste or appearance of food items, decreased dependence on pesticides, fertilizers and other agrochemicals, production of new substances in crops, etc.

Perhaps the most fascinating developments of biotechnology have appeared in medicine where it finds applications in pharmacogenomics, genetic testing, pharmaceutical drug production and gene therapy.

As the discipline has evovled different classifications of it based on applications have also surfaced, some of them are:
green-biotechnology.jpg
Green biotechnology:  This term refers to the discipline's applications in agricultural processes. An example is growing of food crops with enhanced nutritional content.

Bioinformatics: Bioinformatics is yet another interdisciplinary field that entails solving biological problems using computer applications, and is used to quickly organize and analyze biological data.

Blue biotechnology: This term refers to biotechnology's marine and aquatic applications applications.

Red biotechnology: This one refers to its applications in medical processes. For instance, production of organisms to produce antibiotics, or providing genetic cures by means of genomic manipulation.

White biotechnology: It refers to biotechnology used in industrial processes. For instance designing an organism to produce a needed chemical compound.

All final products derived from biotechnological processes and any intermediate ingredients used to make the final products are known as biotechnological products.

Types of Biological Products

Antibodies

Also known as immunoglobulins, antibodies are gamma globulin proteins found in blood and several other bodily fluids of vertebrates (including humans).  The function of these proteins is to act as a constituent of the immune system by identifying and neutralizing foreign objects, such as bacteria and viruses, that invade our bodies. Antibodies are produced by a type of white blood cell known as a "B cell." Structuraly, comprising heavy chains, antibodies are of many types and are grouped into different isotypes depending upon which heavy chain they comprise.

Assay Systems
assay-systems.jpg
The term assay refers to a procedure by which a property or concentration of substance used in a laboratory is measured. A large number for biological and medical purposes exist e.g. competitive protein binding assay, bioassay, antigen capture assay, immunoassay, stem cell assay, microbiological assay, and many more types. For instance typical assays for researching proteins' interactions with DNA include, DNase footprinting assay, filter binding assay, gel shift assay. An example of Assays meant to study how toxic a compound is to cells typically entails MTT assay, SRB (Sulforhodamine B) assay. Assay systems on the other hand refers to tools and kits meant to conduct such an analysis.

Proteins

Proteins are large molecules that assist living organisms in their structure, function, and regulation of the body's organs, tissues and cells. There are different types of proteins and each of which has a specialized function. They are also the main components of proteins.jpg bones, muscles, skin, and other parts of the body. Additionally, they also serves as a sources of energy for the body. In case of cells, proteins are the chief actors that govern the myriad cellular acivities specified by the information contained in the genes. Enzymes too are a type of proteins that aid in accomplishing various functions such as metabolism, catabolism, DNA repair, DNA replication, and RNA synthesis. Antibodies are themselves proteins with the funtion of protecting the body by binding them around antigens, or any foreign substances inside the body, and destroy them.

Buying Tips

When it’s about medicinal formulations and equipment for use in biotechnology, it's the quality which determines how effective and safe the final products will be. The importance of the quality of biotechnology products can’t be overemphasized. The following tips would help you to procure quality biotechnology product supplies.

1.Establish the integrity of the source prior placing the order.

2.Establish a list of approved suppliers.

3.Require that any alternative source of supply provides the following as a minimum:

    a.A pedigree back to the previous source
    b.Certification that it is not a diverted product
    c.Certification that any actions by the alternative source will not alter any original manufacture warranties or     guarantees
    d.Certification that the product has been stored and handled consistent with product labeling requirements

4.Be wary if a product is being offered at an unusually cheap price.

5.Check for signs of a removed or switched product label

6.Check for subtle changes in the product’s package (compare with previously purchased products), notwithstanding legitimate parallel imported products

7.Look for variations in the size of the container (compare with previously purchased products), not withstanding legitimate parallel imported products

8.Look for differences in container length, diameters and shapes.

9.Examine for variations in diameters of bottle openings or lids.

10.Examine for variations in the thickness of glass or plastic containers and for variations in container color tints.

11.Compare the physical characteristics of the product

Industry Overview

Biotechnology is a fast growing and a dynamic sector of the medical industry. After World War II the industry has been pursued with large investments in capital for research and developments. Thousands of new companies have mushroomed to formulate find new solutions and products based on biotechnology and is has also become the mainstay of the healthcare industry. The rate of expansion in the industry is comparable only to the information technology sector.

Biotechnology garners so much interest due to the fact that it has numerous applications. For instance in healthcare it is pursued to develop new medicines and drug compounds. Furthermore, its industrial uses entail development of new solvents or applications to be used in new processes and technologies. Additionally, it continues to be used in the agricultural sector where it helps to create hybrid crops, enhance crop productions, grains, etc.

A lot of small and medium–sized biotech firms are owned by or are associated with larger players. For the most part, the major share of the industry is held by enterprises that were the original founders. At the same time the capital requirements for research and development is huge and hence its not uncommon to find venture capital firms with large stakes.

The magnitude and the growth trends of the industry can be ascertained by observing the US biotech industy, which has a major stake in the world's market. The U.S. biotech industry has grown at an annual rate of about 14%. Forecasts predict the worth of the industry revenues to touch US $150 billion by 2010.

Back in 2002 itself, there were about 1500 biotechnology firms in the U.S. And about 350, out of which were publicly held. The market capitalization for the year 2006 was valued at US $400 billion.

Aside from the US the other countries with large investments in biotechnology research include Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Australia, Denmark and New Zealand.
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