Biotechnology is widely used in agriculture to improve plant growth and yields, increase resistance to pests and diseases, and enhance nutritional content. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 80% of all processed foods today contain ingredients derived from biotechnology. From genetically engineered crops to the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) for insect control on fruit trees and grapevines, examples of biotechnology in agriculture are widespread.
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the most common examples of how biotechnology is being used in the agricultural sector as well as the advantages of biotechnology.
Genetically Modified Crops
Genetically modified crops are created by inserting genes from different organisms into the DNA sequence of specific crop varieties. This produces traits that would not occur naturally, such as resistance to pests or environmental conditions like drought. The GMO industry has evolved over the years, with progress being made in developing crops that are tolerant to herbicides, resistant to disease, and insect-resistant.
Many people oppose GMOs because they are not sure about their long-term effects on human health and the environment. However, many scientific studies have suggested that GMOs, as an example of successful biotechnology application in agriculture, are safe for both humans and the environment. More research still needs to be done to ensure that GMOs are safe and beneficial in the long term.
Advantages of GMO biotechnology:
- Increased efficiency and reduced costs
- Higher crop yields
- Ability to generate new food products
- Improved quality of life for farmers
Developing of Biofuels
Another great example of biotechnology in agriculture is the development of biofuels. Biofuels are types of fuel that can be produced using natural inputs like algae, corn stover, and sugarcane bagasse instead of petroleum products. This helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because they do not emit any carbon when burned. It also does not take away from the food supply because some inputs, like algae, can be grown on wastewater or using arable land that isn’t fit to grow crops.
This also gives more options for where the fuel source comes from and may increase competition, which could lower prices. Using advanced biotech methods to develop biofuels has the potential to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide a more reliable fuel source.
Advantages of biofuels:
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
- Increased competition may lead to lower prices
- More options for where fuel source comes from
Improving Plant Growth
Improving plant growth is another example of biotechnology in agriculture. Since the beginning of agriculture, farmers have been breeding plants to get more desirable traits such as larger fruits size, more robust plant growth, or improved flavor. This is an example of traditional cross-breeding methods where a farmer selects what she thinks are the best examples from each generation for further breeding. In short, this method requires generations of experiments to obtain the desired result.
However, with the advent of biotechnology, sustainable plant growth can be achieved quickly and efficiently. These plants are altered in a laboratory to possess a specific trait, such as resistance to pests, abiotic stress, and several other factors. Once the variety is created, it only takes a few generations for farmers to obtain examples that have all desired traits and grow much more efficiently because they no longer need to worry about previous growth challenges.
Advantages of biotechnology for plant growth:
- Increased tolerance to stress factors, such as drought or salinity
- Faster growth rates and shorter generation times
- Costs less than traditional breeding methods
Improving Plant Seed Quality
We can’t mention examples of biotechnology in agriculture without noting the increased quality of seeds available to farmers. Biotechnology has allowed for more effective and efficient ways of improving the crops that feed our population, as well as ensuring high-quality seeds at harvest time. Seed quality has always been the basis for a good crop, and biotechnology has allowed seeds to be improved in several ways.
For example, scientists have been able to improve the ability of seeds to withstand different conditions such as drought or flooding by using DNA technology that targets specific genes responsible for water uptake during these stressful times. In addition, biotechnologists have introduced new genetic material into plants that can lead to higher nutritional value in many foods we eat every day, like fruits, vegetables, grains, and oilseeds.
Advantages of biotech in improving seed quality:
- Improved crops
- More food for the world’s population.
- Better crop yields in the face of changing conditions around the globe
- Increased nutritional value
Improve Animal Health and Breeding
Another great example of biotechnology in agriculture is improving animal health and breeding. Biotechnology is now being used in livestock production, which allows the animals to grow faster with less food for better meat quality. It can even be used for cloning. Animals that are resistant to diseases can also be bred using biotechnology. By using biotechnology solutions, farmers can increase their production and improve the quality of animal products.
The animal biotech industry has a long way to go, but the potential is huge. This technology has great advantages over conventional methods and may be a key to feeding our growing population in the future. When combined with plant-based biotechnology, the potential for increased food production is even greater. We can only hope that this technology will be used to help us sustainably feed the world.
Advantages of biotechnology in animal breeding:
- Improved animal product quality
- Faster growth
- Resistance to diseases
- Increased food production potential
Learn More at Fruit Growers Supply
There’s no doubt that biotechnology is here to stay. As scientists continue their efforts to create new technologies, the successful application of these and other examples of biotechnology in agriculture will increase. For instance, farmers who produce fruits, flowers, and vegetables can increase their yields and profits, reduce labor costs, and improve the environment.
Examples include using genetic engineering to develop herbicide-resistant seeds for soybeans, developing genetically engineered apples with extended shelf life, and using CRISPR gene editing to create cows that produce more milk. Learn how biotechnology is changing the agricultural sector at Fruit Growers Supply. Fruit Growers Supply is a one-stop shop for your commercial growing needs. Contact us for a quote.