9 Ways Biotechnology is Making Life Better
Biotechnology is a science field where new products and processes are being developed on a regular basis. Those advances, enabled by the contribution of full service engineering and design firms that provide everything from capital planning to compliance consulting, ultimately make life easier and healthier.
Biotechnology: Improving Personal and Environmental Health Worldwide
The list of ways that advances in biotechnology are improving the health and wellbeing of people and the planet is long. Some of the most high-profile developments include:
- Better plastics. Plastic utensils, disposable food and beverage containers, and product packaging are produced with a material called petroleum polystyrene. These items don’t readily biodegrade and consequently are rapidly increasing the size of our landfills or finding their way into our oceans while simultaneously consuming petroleum that could be used for other purposes. Biotechnology research has resulted in the development of plastics that can be produced from from renewable resources like corn, soybean oil, and sugarcane, many of which are also biodegradable.
- Environmentally friendly personal care products. It is surprising to many people to learn that their personal care products that have such appealing colors and scents are produced using petroleum. Bio-based substances can now be used to replace petrochemicals in a number of these products including shampoo, cosmetics, and lotions. Processes for extracting fibers from raw materials are also beneficial in the production of things like paper towel and sanitary products.
- Greener household cleaning products. Cleaning products have historically been produced from petroleum-based substances. Today, biotechnology is making it possible to manufacture these products from renewable resources. For example, there are now detergents that use enzymes rather than chemicals to loosen soil and stains so they can be washed away.
- More efficient food production. Natural processes like the production of cheese using an enzyme called chymosin can now be performed more efficiently with the help of enzyme production from bacteria and other organisms that biotechnology researchers have enabled.
- Healthier ways to enhance food flavor. Cell cultures from the human tongue are now helping food producers quickly test new ingredients to see how they stimulate receptors for the five flavor categories: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and savory (known as umami). This is allowing them to produce great-tasting foods with less salt, sugar, and monosodium glutamate (a flavor enhancer).
- Improved fabrics. Manufacturers have long relied on the synthetic polymer fiber known as polyester in the production of clothing, carpets, bedding, and other fabrics. Today, petroleum-based polyester can, in many instances, be replaced by a bioengineered renewable form created using a bacillus microbe.
- New ways to perform environmental cleanup. When spills of oil-based substances occur in the environment, chemicals call surfactants are used in the cleanup effort. They help break down the oil so it can be removed by natural processes. New, safer surfactants are being developed that perform the same function but with less toxicity.
- Advanced fuels. As companies look for better ways to power modern life, biofuels made by fermenting plant sugars into ethanol are one effective solution. Bioethanol and biodiesel are having a very positive impact on efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, often through blending with traditional fuels. High-performance bioengineered fuels are even being developed for use in the aviation industry.
- More effective pharmaceuticals. Biotechnology is producing major advances in the field of healthcare. The development of new and more effective pharmaceuticals is just one area. In many cases, low-cost raw materials can be used to manufacture high-quality drugs.
Enabling Biotechnology Advances with Full Service Engineering and Design
From capital planning and facility design to compliance consulting and technology commercialization, the capabilities of a full service engineering and design firm are crucial to the success of biotechnology projects. Finding a skilled, experienced, and collaborative engineering partner is a top priority for successful biotech companies.
APECS achieves outstanding results in biotechnology initiatives because of our 30+ years of experience helping our clients meet their engineering, design, project and portfolio management, capital planning, environmental health & safety, and compliance consulting needs.
Contact APECS, Inc. today to learn more about how we can help with your next biotech project.