Biotechnology Definition and Examples Continued

Biotechnology has been used with plants in many applications, including:

  • Insect protection that comes from within the plants, rather than from externally applied pesticides.
  • Herbicide tolerance that makes weed control more effective and reduces the amount of herbicide applications needed.
  • Disease protection that comes from within the plant to provide protection from specific viral or fungal diseases.
  • Improved nutritional profiles, food quality and/or food processing advantages (1) (Fig. 1 & 2).

Figure 1. Different cheese products. Biotechnology is applied to milk products to get desirable food product.

  • By modifying a plant’s production of linoleic acid, it can better withstand cold temperatures and frost.
  • Desirable functional characteristics --
    • Potatoes rDNA-engineered for a higher starch content will absorb less oil when deep fried, resulting in French fries with less fat (1).
    • Tomatoes bioengineered for delayed ripening may stay on the vine longer, resulting in better flavor and color before being picked and shipped to market (1).
    • Enhanced nutritional characteristics -- Adding Vitamin A to rice (called Golden Rice).

Figure 2. Different types of tomatoes.

Discussion Question :

What are some other examples of utilizing biotechnology you have seen in professional sources (such as journals)?