What is the impact of biotechnology?

Biotechnology feeds the world by generating higher crop yields with fewer inputs, reducing the volumes of agricultural chemicals required by crops, limiting the runoff of these products to the environment, using biotechnological crops that require fewer pesticide applications and that allow farmers to reduce the tillage of farmland. Lacy In this article, we review these changes with a specific emphasis on biotechnology. What worries is how powerful interests are likely to use new biotechnologies, and the social and scientific changes they generate, to change what we eat. In the past, agriculture was different from manufacturing, in part because of its need for land and its dependence on seasonal changes.

Lenin pointed out that “agriculture has certain characteristics that cannot be eliminated (if we leave aside the extremely problematic possibility of producing albumin and food through artificial processes) (Lenin, 1938, p. However, it seems that such a possibility is on the horizon. Is it possible for biotechnology to create a world of superabundant food? Is hunger finally going to be eliminated as part of the human condition? Or are there other forces that will shape the biotech revolution for other purposes? As one of the proponents said: “The research and development effort required is worthwhile to achieve the in vitro production not only of specialized biochemicals, but also, potentially, of foods, spices and industrial products” (Staba, 1985, p. Wheat (198) reported that several major companies and biotechnology companies are currently using this approach to create products such as fruit-based flavors, peppermint oil, quinine and saffron.

In addition, it seems that work is under way to produce coffee, cocoa, rubber and tea in vitro (Clairmonte and Cavanagh, 1986; Heinstein, 1985; Staba, 1985; Tsai and Kinsella, 198). Citrus pulp vesicles have also been produced in vitro, offering the possibility of producing fresh orange juice daily (Rogoff and Rawlins, 198). These flavor components would be biochemically identical to the compounds found naturally in these products; therefore, they would not be artificial in the sense that is now understood, but would be true equivalents. As a result, even in third world countries with scientific communities, few scientists are able to follow the paths opened by new biotechnologies.

Only a few countries in the third world have the critical mass of scientists needed to engage in genetic engineering; a slightly larger number could use tissue culture techniques for certain crops. None will be able to organize the extensive research campaign necessary even to keep abreast of the countries of the First World. While the International Center for Biotechnology, with the support of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, could help in some ways, it is unlikely that it will be able to assume the role played by the International Centers for Agricultural Research in supporting the research that led to the Green Revolution. In addition, the Green Revolution was spatially limited by the very nature of the crops involved (Buttel and Barker, 198).

The biorevolution will not be spatially limited, even if industrial food production remains an elusive goal for some. In principle, recombinant and tissue culture techniques can be used and, in practice, increasingly applied to all crops. In addition, these same techniques can be used to expand crop cultivation regions, increase crop substitutability and develop crops that have “functional properties” (Moshy, 198), making them particularly suitable for certain processing, packaging, nutritional or aesthetic uses. Bijman and his colleagues argued: “Farms and regions that already have a technological advantage will be the first to benefit from the application of biotechnology.

In this way, the gap between big and small, rich and poor, and between the North and the South will widen (Bijman et al. Let us suppose, however, that the Third World manages to gather the knowledge necessary to develop its own competence in biotechnological research. This could be of some help in compensating for the collapse of several commodity markets. In some cases, patents developed in the Third World could even prevent developed countries from conquering certain markets.

Tissue culture could be used to reduce the production costs of crops grown in the field, making it very difficult to compete with in vitro production. However, while this could delay changes, it would in no way prevent the loss of millions of jobs in agricultural production. In short, the development of Third World science is not a solution to the destabilizing effects of biotechnology. It also seems appropriate to remember that the annual global budget for biotechnological research is not equivalent to what the nations of the world spend in a week on what is euphemistically called national security.

Unfortunately, the current definition of national security does not include people's right to food (cf. If I did, the future would look much brighter. . .

Tammi Ludlum
Tammi Ludlum

Professional web trailblazer. Evil zombie junkie. Total tv trailblazer. Professional music nerd. General music aficionado.