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Applications of Biotechnology in Agriculture

Biotechnology in Agriculture

Biotechnology has found a wide range of applications in agriculture by gene manipulation and the consequent change in enzymatic activity. Biotechnology methods, applications, and principles facilitate the selection of plant varieties, cloning, somatic hybridization, and the development of “in vitro culture” techniques, as well as germ tube storage. Genetic manipulation enables the production of better yielding crop varieties. Modern food processing techniques, such as canning, pasteurization, sterilization, and freezing, utilize biotechnological principles. Biotechnology also produces large amounts of yeasts, algae biomass, single-cell proteins (SCP), and other products.

Biotechnology Basics

Karoly Ereky coined the term “Biotechnology” in 1919 to describe the fusion of biological and technological processes aimed at enhancing life on Earth. This interdisciplinary field finds applications in pharmaceuticals, agriculture, research and development, laboratories, and various other biotech endeavors. Particularly in agriculture, biotechnology has emerged as a significant boon, elevating crop quality and yield through innovative approaches.

Biotechnology Applications in the Field of Agriculture

Various processes implement and execute biotechnology applications in agriculture.

1. Recombinant DNA technology or Genetic engineering: In laboratories, genes are precisely modified to alter the genetic composition of plants or crops.

2. Tissue culture: This method involves cultivating cell or plant tissue in a laboratory setting under controlled, in-vitro conditions. It’s a common practice to use precision techniques and strict environmental management for growing genetically modified plants.

3. Somatic hybridization: In this process, researchers select plants, isolate their protoplasts, and merge them to create a plant with a genetically modified genome.

4. Molecular markers: This method is employed to pinpoint the precise location of specific genes within a plant’s genetic makeup.

Significance of Biotechnology in Agriculture

  • Biotechnology has bolstered crop production by rendering plants resistant to adverse conditions such as drought, floods, water stress, and various soil and climatic challenges.
  • Crop mortality rates have been significantly reduced through biotechnology, enhancing plants ability to combat diseases.
  • Genetically-modified plants, facilitated by biotechnology, exhibit heightened resistance to pathogens, minimizing susceptibility to infections by microorganisms like bacteria and viruses.
  • The utilization of biotechnology has exponentially increased crop yields, addressing global food shortages.
  • Boosting the quantity of enzymes responsible for diverse metabolic processes within crops achieves quality enhancement.
  • Biotechnology has engineered crops to withstand chemical treatments such as herbicides, safeguarding them against pathogenic threats.

Example of Genetically-modified Plant

Bt. Cotton stands as a classic example of genetically modified plants, with “Bt.” denoting Bacillus thuringiensis. This microbial organism produces a toxin capable of targeting pathogens. This toxin remains inert within the microbe’s body until encountering an alkaline pH, whereupon it activates. Upon activation, it forms pores on the surface of pathogenic cells, leading to their swelling and eventual rupture, thereby eliminating the pathogen. Leveraging this trait, scientists engineered crops, resulting in the creation of Bt. Cotton. Researchers developed a modified crop variety with enhanced resistance by integrating the microbial genome with that of cotton.


Biotechnology, a term coined by Karoly Ereky in 1919, encompasses a range of techniques aimed at enhancing living organisms’ welfare on Earth. Its applications span diverse fields such as medicine, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, and research. In agriculture, techniques like Recombinant DNA technology, tissue culture, and molecular markers are employed to develop crops with improved disease resistance, increased yields, and enhanced quality. Biotechnology equips crops with the ability to withstand adverse conditions like floods, droughts, and soil degradation, while also enabling them to tolerate pesticides. Consequently, biotechnology has significantly advanced agriculture, benefiting both the sector and the environment. Moreover, its contributions extend to the pharmaceutical industry and laboratories worldwide.

Read also: Principles of Biotechnology

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