What is Biotech? Types of Biotech + More
Biotechnology or biotech, utilizes organisms, components of organisms, organism by-products, and other biological systems to produce a product or create a process for industrial applications.
The applications of biotechnology span a wide range of industries and use-cases, utilizing various techniques to accomplish goals ranging from creating medication to brewing beer.
One of the ways that biotech companies accomplish their goals is through the use of DNA technology that sequences, analyzes and arranges DNA to create new biological possibilities. DNA technology facilitates processes like DNA sequencing, DNA cloning, gel electrophoresis and polymerase chain reaction, each accomplishable through either state-of-the-art laboratory techniques or traditional agricultural and culinary methods — many of which have been in existence for hundreds of years.
Biotech practices have uses in not just pharmaceutical research and food production, but also in the production of fuel, chemical manufacturing, breeding for biodiversity, and even the production of hazardous materials and weapons. Accordingly, biotech companies and scientists follow strict protocols regarding testing and analysis, ensuring that products will be used in ethical ways and seek to improve upon the lives and conditions of consumers and the environments they exist within.
As mentioned above, biotech occupies a variety of use cases to solve challenges throughout many industries. To define the needs, capabilities, and ethics involved in each application, biotech companies can be broken down into various categories based on the solutions they seek to create.
Types of Biotech
- Red Biotechnology
- Yellow Biotechnology
- White Biotechnology
- Green Biotechnology
- Grey Biotechnology
- Blue Biotechnology
- Gold Biotechnology
- Violet Biotechnology
- Dark Biotechnology
Red biotech involves all practices related to the research and creation of medicinal and veterinary products, including vaccines, antibiotics and molecular diagnosis techniques. Genetic engineering techniques are also utilized to research disease causes and develop potential cures through manipulation techniques.
All biotech companies and products related to the production of food fall into the Yellow Biotechnology categorization. One of the most popular examples of Yellow biotech is the process of fermentation, in which bacteria or other microorganisms break down substances and transform their chemical makeup.
White biotech refers to biotech practices utilized in industrial manufacturing, focused on redesigning chemical makeups to reduce multiple issues that have been present since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. White biotechnology aims to reduce the consumption of resources and products during manufacturing by enabling more energy efficient processes, reducing pollution to offset the growing climate crisis.
Focused entirely on transgenics, or genetic modification, Green Biotechnology focuses entirely on creating new plant varieties for specific uses, such as the production of biopesticides and biofertilizers. Biotechnologists in this category splice single or multiple genes into an organism to solve for specific deficiencies within a plant. Genes can either come from the same species or others, resulting in healthier ecosystems and more resources available for harvesting.
While Green Biotechnology focuses on the introduction of genes into specific plants for a multitude of uses, Grey Biotechnology is the practice of introducing modified or unmodified plants and microorganisms into specific environments to remove carbons, metals and other pollutants or contaminants while enhancing overall biodiversity. Green and Grey biodiversity used in tandem can lead to profound changes in ecosystems on the verge of collapse.
Blue biotechnology refers to the use and exploitation of marine-based resources to create products that benefit various industries. Due to the prevalence of water on Earth, Blue Biotechnology presents the greatest range of biodiversity, and accordingly, the highest overall potential for future biotech developments across industries. From alternative energy to vitamin production, Blue Biotechnology has led to enormous breakthroughs in quality of life. The introduction of transgenic fish, plants and microorganisms into marine environments can lead to less pollution, a higher abundance of resources and a better understanding of many unexplored regions of the world.
While not directly involved in the creation of biotech products, these categorizations exist to represent concerns surrounding biotech implementation:
Gold biotech refers to the use of data, analytics and computing models to predict and enable biotech production.
The handling of compliance, legality and ethical biotech concerns fall into the category of Violet Biotechnology.
In contrast to the ethical standards of biotechnology, Dark Biotechnology refers to the creation of weapons and warfare products that intend to do harm and are produced through chemical manipulation or other biotech methods.
As Red Biotechnology refers to the research and development of medicinal and veterinarian products, it is inextricably linked to the Biopharma industry. In fact, Biopharma can be looked at as the results of Red Biotechnology development put into action — Biopharma drugs are always the result of biotechnology.
The Difference between Biopharma and Biotech
Biotech relies on consistent research and development practices in order to achieve results. While much of the research biotechnologists undergo results in little actionable data, or end up negating positive initial investigations altogether, Biopharma begins at the moment biotech research results in a breakthrough. Biopharmacists and Biopharma companies then examine these breakthroughs to determine the necessary steps towards creating viable medicines and medicinal products, including finding target markets and creating plans for the commercialization and marketing of the product.