Biotechnology in Food: How do they work together?

Technology entered our lives for almost two decades now, changing the tiniest details from the way we live, work, think and even eat as biotechnology in food shapes our diets, health, and our understanding of farming.

Agriculture is the main element in producing the food we consume, and it has been developing throughout the decades with the help of technology and more specifically biotechnology.

As such, modern biotechnology assists in enhancing yield, taste, shelf life and nutritive values, as well as their use in food processing (fermentation and enzyme involving processes). Therefore, biotechnology is also beneficial in erasing hunger, malnutrition, and diseases from developing countries and third word.

However, biotech foods is the concept of modifying the genes of food sources using technology. With food sources extracted from animals, plants, and microorganisms. With food biotechnology, for example, we create new species of animals and plants, specifically the ones that we eat.

The global food biotechnology market size was valued at over $23 billion in 2018 and is anticipated to witness over 10 percent CAGR up to 2025, according to a report by Global Market Insights.

Biotechnology and food technology

We can find many biotechnologies used in food to enhance taste, among them:

Enzymes: They are used in production and processing of food items, specifically produced at industrial level. Food processing companies use enzymes that are produced through genetically modified organisms (European food information council 2015) which are comprised of proteases and carbohydrase.

Catalase is used in mayonnaise production which removes hydrogen peroxide and is one of some genetically modified enzymes used in food industry, according to the Journal of Ecosystem & Ecography.

Another enzyme is Chymosin which is useful in cheese production as it coagulates milk, in addition to glucose oxidase being used in baking as it stabilizes the dough. Many other enzymes are also used such as α-amylase that converts starch into maltose and used in baking for sweetness.

For example, α-amylase is used in the production of high fructose corn syrup and provides continuous process of three steps providing higher yield. Through purification this yield can be increased up to 90 percent.

Fermentation: Breweries are synthesized through the process of fermentation, while different yeast strains are used to make breweries at commercial level. Genetic engineering has enabled us to make light wine. Yeast is genetically modified through foreign gene encoding glucoamylase. During process of fermentation yeast expresses glucoamylase that convert starch into glucose.

Improving Food Nutrition

Also, many food items usually don’t contain all essential ingredients or the full food nutrients.

More than half of the worldwide protein production is attained from plants, but plant proteins require some essential amino acids like lysine and Sulphur. Corn is genetically modified, and it expresses proteins produced by soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis.

Different biotechnological molecular processes are used to overcome the deficiency of essential amino acids.

In parallel, rice is used as staple food in many countries, however, it’s not a good staple food because it lacks vitamin A. This problem has been solved by using biotechnological techniques through introduction of foreign vitamin A gene.

By the year 2050, population of world will become nine billion, bringing more yield on same land, making biotechnology the best technology to fight against problem of food yield.