Biotechnology is being used to meet the crisis in both environment and energy sectors. The genetically engineered microbes are being used for the commercial production of some microbial and non microbial products e.g. interferon, human growth hormones, viral vaccines, insulin etc. These genetically engineered microbes help in reducing the environmental pollution through various processes such as recovery of metals from polluted waterways; elimination of sulphur from metal ores and coal-fired power, use of bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides etc. Microbes are being also used to produce the single cell proteins (SCP) to solve the food and fodder problems and for biogas production.
Enzymes are biological catalysts which accelerate the biochemical reactions in living cells. A purified enzyme can also carry on a specific biochemical reaction outside the cell. Due to this property of the enzymes, they are widely used in laboratory and in the commercial production of important biochemical compounds, drugs and Industrial products. This has made enzyme research an important area of biotechnology. Various techniques are being used to modify the enzymes through enzyme modeling and gene manipulation for various specific purposes.
In 1894, USA industrially produced the first enzyme named as “fungal taka-diastase” which was employed as pharmaceutical agent for digestive disorders. The microbial “rennin” is being used instead of calf’s rennin since 1967.