The utilization of scientific principles that use living things or organisms to produce products and services for the benefit of humans is called biotechnology.

There are millions of organisms in a whole world with form and structural diversity. Organisms that are thought to have no benefits turn out to have considerable potential for humans. Therefore humans with intelligent thinking try to develop and use all organisms on earth for the welfare of human life.

Almost everyone must have done biotechnology in everyday life, even though they lack understanding of what biotechnology is and the term biotechnology sounds foreign to them. However, if they are told that making tempeh, tape and soy sauce are some examples of biotechnology, then they begin to understand a little what is meant by biotechnology. In the beginning, it was dominated to produce food.

As time goes by, experts continue to examine several organisms to obtain a useful product. And finally, they managed to find new biotechnology products from the use of organisms.

What Is Biotechnology?


Some scientists try to define biotechnology, including:

  • Sylvia A. Mender
    According to Mender, biotechnology is a term used to indicate the use of a biological system that aims to produce a product that is following human desires. Since the beginning of civilization, especially in the Mendel era, humans have crossed a lot, both crossing between plants and crossing between animals to produce the desired superior traits.
  • Ricky Lewis
    Ricky Lewis called biotechnology with genetic engineering terms (genetic engineering). The use of the term genetic engineering is based on the manipulation of deoxyribose-nucleic-acid (DNA) of a living thing. In biotechnology, engineering of organisms or components of organisms is carried out to produce goods and services that are important and beneficial to human life.

The History of Biotechnology Development


About 8000 years ago, the ancient Egyptians used a type of microbial Yeast saccharomyces or yeast to make bread. In bread dough, gas bubbles produced in the fermentation process, make the bread soft so it is delicious to eat. This is the employment of microbes or microorganisms at the cellular level for food functions.

So the old science of biotechnology (conventional) is the use of microorganisms or living things in general at the level of cells or cells called modern biotechnology was born in the 1970s with the advent of recombinant DNA technology. Scientists from the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) named Herbert Boyer succeeded in developing sophisticated technology to be able to cut the DNA chain then connect it again.

But because DNA material is very small, this cannot be proven by looking directly at it because the amount is also very small. Another scientist from Stanford University named Stanley Cohen discovered how to insert circular or plasmid DNA material into cells. Although only 60 km away, the two were never able to meet so they could unite the technology they had. Until finally in 1972, the two met at a scientific meeting, thousands of kilometers from where they lived and worked in California, namely in Hawaii. DNA that has been reconnected with Boyer technology can be reproduced by entering into bacterial cells with Cohen’s technology.

Because bacteria multiply very quickly, the DNA that has been inserted becomes large in a short amount of time, so that their presence can be checked easily. This is the essence of recombinant DNA technology. DNA is one of the biological molecules making up cells. The use of biological molecules, even to the ability to manipulate or manipulate is a technological revolution that led to the birth of modern biotechnology. So, there is a change in old biotechnology to modern biotechnology, namely the change in the use of biological material from the cellular or cellular level to the molecular or molecular level.

Until now, the development of biotechnology continues to experience very rapid development until genetic engineering technology is discovered, tissue culture, and even cloning technology is a controversy to this day. Various biotechnology is still possible to continue to develop to obtain new products that are beneficial to human life.

The Difference Of Conventional With Modern Biotechnology

Biotechnology can be divided into two, namely conventional and modern biotechnology. The following will explain some differences between conventional and modern biotechnology.

1. Conventional Biotechnology

In conventional biotechnology, usually only utilize microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi in producing alcohol, acetic acid, sugar, or other food ingredients such as soy sauce, tofu, and tempeh.

The characteristics of conventional biotechnology are as follows:

  • Done without scientific principles
  • Done only based on experience passed down from generation to generation
  • In general, it cannot be mass-produced because the product is only used to meet household needs

The application of traditional biotechnology covers several aspects of life, one of which is in the field of food processing. Foodstuffs that undergo biotechnology processes will become higher quality, more durable, fresher foodstuffs and increase the added value of foodstuffs, which of course has a great opportunity to increase the selling value of these foodstuffs.

Below will be mentioned several examples of foods that are the products of traditional/conventional biotechnology.

2. Modern Biotechnology


We already know that biotechnology is divided into conventional biotechnology and modern biotechnology. And at this time, modern biotechnologists are increasingly developing by utilizing scientific principles. The principles include an understanding of the processes, equipment used, machine processing, packaging, and marketing. In increasing the added value of a material, modern biotechnology utilizes microorganisms.

Microorganisms are for example as a producer of drugs (penicillium), as fertilizer in plants (rhizobium), as food ingredients namely blue algae (spirulina) and others. Modern biotechnology has the following characteristics:

a. Using living things to produce a product

The use of living things is because:

  • Living things can be developed asexually so that if maintained continuously has a permanent nature.
  • Living things can be obtained easily.
  • The nature of living things can be changed as needed for example through the crossing.
  • living things are always multiplying, so they are natural resources that can be restored.

b. Using scientific principles in producing a product

The principles are as follows:

  • Understanding of the process.
  • Equipment used.
  • Processing results with machines.
  • Packing.
  • Marketing.

c. Is the result of the study of various sciences.

d. It can be produced in large quantities.

Utilization of modern biotechnology is carried out in various fields, for example in the fields of plantation and agriculture, health, animal husbandry, and others.

Benefits in Life

Biotechnology is very promising in the fields of medicine, environmental management, food production, and agriculture.

1. Poor Living Conditions Health Particularly in the Field of Medicine

The utilization of biotechnology in this field is the presence of vitamins and amino acids through the help of microorganisms. In general, humans get the vitamin juice consumed, they can now get it with the help of microorganisms. Through culture techniques and the maintenance of certain microorganisms, then extract it, we get several types of vitamins and amino acids.

In the medical world, many medicines are created from bioproducts. Now, these drugs are available to treat diseases. For example, insulin is now available to treat diabetes and growth hormone which is used to treat growth disorders and accelerate wound healing.

Among the employments of pharmaceutical biotechnology square measure the use of recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid technology to switch the Escherichia coli bacterium to supply human insulin, that was distributed at Genentech in 1978.

It provides new methods for making vaccines for the prevention of diseases such as Hepatitis B and to help detect and diagnose diseases due to viruses and congenital abnormalities.

2. Environmental Management

At this time, biotechnology opens up new opportunities in environmental protection and management. For example, genetically engineered bacteria can be used to turn organic waste into useful products or to clean up oil spills.

3. Food Production

Biotechnology also plays a role in food production. Where biotechnology plays an important war by providing food, vitamins, and enzymes to process more and more quality food.

The application of traditional biotechnology covers several aspects of life, one of which is in the field of food processing.

1. Tempe


Tempe is a type of traditional Indonesian food made from soybeans, which in the process of making it gets help from mushrooms

Rhizopus. Like other soy products, tempeh has a high nutritional content.

2. Soy Sauce

Soy Sauce

Ketchup is a food seasoning that is already familiar to the people of Indonesia. Soy sauce which has a blackish-brown color, has a distinctive smell, with salty or even sweet taste, and can taste the food. In making soy sauce, get help from Aspergillus and Rhizopus mushrooms.

3. Tahu


Tofu is one of the processed foods that are also made from raw soybeans. Tofu can be said as a technological product because in the manufacturing process also involves the activity of organisms, as well as in the process of making tofu and soy sauce as above. In the manufacturing process, tofu gets help from acid-producing bacteria.

Utilization of Modern Biotechnology in The Fields of Plantations and Agriculture



Now in this globalization era, scientists can improve the quality of fruits and vegetables, extending food storage time so that they can be stored longer. In the future, those experts are expected to be able to produce plants that are resistant to adverse climatic conditions. Such as dry, hot or cold climatic conditions, so farmers can use the land.

Utilization in the fields of plantations and agriculture aims to improve welfare in society such as increasing production, improving quality and others. One of the uses of modern biotechnology in this field is tissue culture.

Tissue culture that is cultivating a plant tissue into new plants that have properties like the parent. Plant tissue that is taken is in young tissue so it is easy to grow, such as in meristem tissue, for example in young leaves, root tips, stem ends, and others.

The use of tissue culture has the advantage that plant seeds are found to have the same characteristics as the parent, plant seeds can be produced in large quantities in a short time, the land used is not too broad, and others.

Animal Husbandry


Utilization in this field such as providing vaccines and growth hormones to livestock. The use of growth hormones in livestock can increase the production of meat, milk, or eggs. Growth hormone can be made by way of cloning growth regulators, then paste them into microorganisms, so that these microorganisms produce those hormones.


  1. The development of biotechnology starts from conventional to modern biotechnology. Conventional biotechnology is simple by using organisms that were originally only used for trial and error based on scientific principles. While modern biotechnology is currently using scientific principles in the use of organisms in producing a product.
  2. The difference between conventional and modern biotechnology lies in the use of scientific principles, the basis for making biotechnology products and the number of products produced.
  3. The positive impact is to obtain quality seeds with genetically modified crops, can multiply plants using tissue culture, etc. While the negative impact is the emergence of transgenic organisms, IVF controversy, etc.

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