Industrial Biotechnology uses biotechnology for industrial processes, using microorganisms and enzymes to produce goods for industry, including chemicals, plastics, food, agricultural and pharmaceutical products, and energy carriers. It provides new ways to manufacture products while preventing pollution, conserving resources, and reducing costs. prevention, resource conservation, and cost reduction. Industrial biotechnology is often referred to as the “third wave” in biotechnology, and it is estimated that once fully developed, it will have a larger impact on our world than health care and agricultural biotechnology.
Industrial processes will generally require biological and chemical steps, so creating, scaling, and running processes that use both steps will often require the integration of disciplines that have been traditionally practiced separately. While the processes may require the chemical synthesis of a starting material that is fed to fermentation, the starting material for a step using an enzyme or fermentation may be used to generate a natural product, which is then isolated and used as the starting material for multiple chemical steps. Thus, the Industrial Biotechnology Expert might need chemical, biological and engineering backgrounds.
Industrial biotechnology experts most often work in the agriculture, biofuels, chemical, pharmaceutical, or biomaterials industries. They often assist with designing and implementing new industrial processes, research and development of new biotechnology products, troubleshooting and optimizing existing industrial processes, oversight of industrial biotechnology operations, technical support, and training/education.
Industrial biotechnology experts play a vital role in developing new and innovative products and processes that can help address some of the world’s most pressing challenges, such as climate change, food security, and energy scarcity.
A few specific examples of what industrial biotechnology experts do are:
- Developing new bio-based plastics that are biodegradable and recyclable.
- Creating new biofuels that can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
- Developing new enzymes that can be used to produce chemicals and materials more efficiently and sustainably.
- Engineering new microbes that can produce new pharmaceuticals and other healthcare products.
- Developing new ways to use biomass to produce energy and other products.