Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Role of Bio-Process engineering in agriculture and food

Bioprocess engineering in agriculture and the food industry involves the application of biocatalysts (living cells or their components) to produce useful and value-added products, and it offers opportunities to design and produce new or improved agricultural and food products and their manufacturing processes. This will likely have a great impact on the food-processing industry. In the increasingly health-conscious society, genetically engineered microorganisms and specialty enzymes will find increased use in improving the nutritional, flavoring, and storage characteristics and safety of food products. Products under development range from genetically improved strains of freeze-resistant yeast used in frozen bakery products to phage-resistant dairy (yogurt) starter cultures. Chymosin, a product of recombinant E. coli, is already used in the milk-clotting step of cheese manufacture, and a recombinant maltogenic amylase is being used as an antistaling agent. Enzyme-based immunoassays could develop into a widely used method for detecting pesticides in foods at parts-per-billion concentrations. Challenges that must be addressed include the economics of production and regulatory issues.

The most important applications of bioprocess-engineering research and development related to agriculture and food involve production of agricultural chemicals for control of animal and plant diseases, growth-stimulating agents for improved yield, and biological insecticides and herbicides; increasing bioprocess efficiencies for fermented foods, natural food additives, food enzymes as processing aids, and separation and purification of the products; use of plant-cell culture systems to produce secondary metabolites or chemical substances of economic importance; and efficient use of renewable biomass resources for production of liquid fuel and chemical feedstocks and efficient treatment and management of agricultural wastes and wastes from food-processing industries.

Tags: Bio Technology, Bio Genetics, Bio Process Engineering

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