Advancements in science and technology have spread across all areas. It has pushed food scientist to great lengths. They have been able to produce genetically engineered foods. They have produced foods from organisms by inducing changes into their DNA. This has allowed the introduction of new traits into the organisms and assisted in having a greater control on the quality of the product.
Biotechnology started slowly compared to other sectors, but it has had a major impact on agriculture. It has been able to improve upon existing processed such as mutual breeding, fermentation etc. it is now possible to carry out genetic transformation and manipulation of all plants species with the major crops not left out. Many changes have meant undeniable improvements to our health and safety. There have been consequences too.
Some of the notable improvements include
- Increase Nutritional Value
When the genetic components are altered, they produce a higher concentration of the nutrients and more compounds for fighting bodily diseases. An example is Soy. Soy has been modified to have a high level of oleic acid. This nutrient is naturally found in olive oil. Oleic acid has lower cholesterol and can be used as a replacement for fats. The lower cholesterol component makes it more preferable.
- Higher Quality Crops
Biotechnology has resulted in the development of crops that are less susceptible to disease. These crops have high resistance to pathogen/disease. They also produce improved yields and quality. They have been able to produce crops which can thrive under unfavourable conditions and still yield better output as a result of these modifications on their genes.
- Portable water testing.
In order to eliminate water borne diseases or those that are caused as a result of water contamination, recombinant gene technology method has been introduced to test water for safe drinking and the required antibodies to help in purifying the water are then introduce.
- Spoilage reduction through packaging
Plastics and nylon used for preservation and storage of food usually inhibit bacteria growth after some time. In order to prevent this, natural antibiotic substances have been added to these polymers to create plastics that can prevent the growth of bacteria.
- Reduced health risks.
Genetically engineered foods are more scrutinized for safety and tightly regulated compared to any other food. This has really helped in reducing health risks due to the greater attention paid to it.
Some of the side effects of biotechnology include
- Production cost.
The costs of producing genetically modified crops are very high. A lot of investment is required to achieve this. At the end, the reward/income after the sale of these products may not be enough to cover for the funds invested. These have made it hard for private parties to go into the production of genetically engineered food. Because of these, the government introduced the ideas of a patent.
- Risk of other infectious diseases
There is a possibility that the antibodies and genetic materials from viruses used in producing transgenic crops may combine with genes from infecting viruses thereby leading to a more infectious virus. This end up causing serious diseases that involve an entirely different research process to obtain a cure.
Even though there are still controversies over the acceptance of biotechnology in third world countries. The major issues have been concerns over its safety for consumption and the adverse effect on the environment, its regulation, and control. If it is finally accepted, it will be a great achievement in the quality of crops and animals produced.