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The field of biotechnology is constantly advancing. From finding ways to slow down the process of food spoilage, advancements in genetic engineering, to adapting organisms to clean up contaminated environments, new applications and biotechnological inventions are continuously being developed to help improve our world. Here are five breakthrough biotechnological innovations currently underway.

Oil-Eating Bacteria to Clean up Oil Spills

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The oil-spill has been one of the biggest issues the environmental, health, agricultural and financial sectors have been tackling, and scientists in Europe have sequenced the genome for an oil-eating bacterium, which could lead to faster, more efficient ways to clean up oil spills.

That certain bacteria have the ability to metabolize oil isn’t a new discovery of course. Back in 1989, bacteria were used experimentally in attempts to clean up the 11 million gallons of crude oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez after it ran aground off the coast of Alaska. Though it made little to no difference back then, now that researchers have a complete blueprint for the oil-hungry bacteria: Alcanivorax borkumensis, they’ll have the ability to optimize the conditions for these bugs, enabling them to soak up the hundreds of millions of liters of oil that enter our waters each year. [Source]

Tumor-Fighting Immune Cells to Attack Cancer

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Researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have created a large, well-armed troop of tumor-seeking immune system cells to locate and attack dangerous melanomas. Dr. Antoni Ribas, the senior author of the study says: “We’re trying to genetically engineer the immune system to become a cancer killer and then image how the immune system operates at the same time.”

In the study, melanomas grown in mice used an inactive HIV-like virus to serve as a vehicle to arm the lymphocytes with T cell receptors, which caused the lymphocytes to become killers of cancerous cells. A reporter gene, which glows “hot” during PET scanning, was also inserted into the cells which helps researchers track the genetically engineered lymphocytes after they get injected into the blood stream, make their way to the lungs and lymph nodes, and then home in on the tumors wherever they may be located within the body. The team created and injected about one million genetically engineered lymphocytes into a mouse but say that in humans, the number of tumor-seeking cells needed to fight the cancer is approximately one billion. The researchers say, if all goes well, human studies of the process could begin in approximately one year. [Source]

Engineered Tobacco Plants as Biofuel

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Finally putting tobacco plants to good use, researchers from the Biotechnology Foundation Laboratories at Thomas Jefferson University have identified a way to increase the oil in tobacco plant leaves, with the aim of using it as biofuel. This is a promising prospect, one, because it offers an alternative to exploiting plants that are used in food production, and two, because tobacco plants generate biofuel more efficiently than other agricultural crops.

The challenge researchers faced was that this precious oil is mostly found in tobacco seeds, and tobacco plants only produce about 600 kg of seeds per acre. However, they have now found ways to genetically engineer the plants so that their leaves express more oil. According to one of the project’s researchers, Dr. Andrianov, they have been able to modify plants to produce 20-fold more oil in the leaves. Andrianov says “”Based on these data, tobacco represents an attractive and promising ‘energy plant’ platform, and could also serve as a model for the utilization of other high-biomass plants for biofuel production.” [Source]

Cheap, Effective Genome Sequencing Technology

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Personalized healthcare is increasingly being applied to develop more effective treatments for disease and prevent a wider variety of conditions. Genome sequencing is one the most critical tools for personalized medicine, as it provides the individual genetic information necessary for the effective diagnosis and targeted treatment of particular diseases. Last month, a new collaborative agreement between Roche, a leader in biotechnology and research-focused healthcare, and IBM, one of the world’s largest technology companies, has them joining forces to develop a nanopore-based sequencer that will directly read and decode human DNA quickly, efficiently and affordably.

Similar to vps hosting offering affordable shared hosting, their goal is to reduce the cost of sequencing an individual’s genome to between $100 and $1000.Currently, companies such as San Diego’s Illumina, which specializes in array-based solutions for DNA, RNA and protein analysis, charge anywhere from $9,500-$19,500, an already drastic drop compared to its previous $48,000 price tag.

In order to reduce the cost so significantly, the new partners want to be able to perform true single molecule sequencing, that will decode molecules of DNA as they are threaded through a nanometer-sized pore in a silicon chip. This approach should deliver significant advantages in cost, throughput, scalability, and speed compared to other sequencing technologies currently available or in development. [Source]

Stem cell culturing without the use of animal substances

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Researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet, one of Europe’s largest medical universities, have managed to produce human stem cells without the use of other cells or substances from animals, in a completely chemically-defined environment. Embryonic stem cells have, up to this point, been cultured with the help of proteins from animals, ruling out the possibility of using them for treatment on humans. Now, they are cultured on a matrix of a single human protein: laminin-511, a part of our connective tissue that acts as a matrix that our cells can attach to. The possibilities are tremendous thanks to this scientific breakthrough that will give scientists the ability to develop different types of cells, which can be tested for the treatment of various human diseases. [Source]

31 comments

Posted by Katie at 1:20 am at 27. August 2010

Stem cell culturing was one of the major breakthrough in biotechnology. Scientist believe that they may be able to replace anything into human body if this experiment succeed.

Posted by Anna Aslan at 9:32 pm at 17. September 2010

It’s great that tobacco can be used to save lives not take them.

Posted by ankit patel at 7:02 am at 19. December 2010

this was amezing research technology by biotechnology scientist i will get satisfied information about recently innovation ,,thank you…

Posted by Married here at 1:49 pm at 9. February 2011

An appealing blog post there mate ! Cheers for posting .

Posted by Saranya B at 6:57 am at 12. March 2011

Killing of cancer cells by using our own immune cells is a best way rather than chemotheraphy and radiation therapy which causes many side effects. Really it is a good innovation which will save many lives.

Posted by kirti bhaskar at 3:47 am at 14. June 2011

Is there any new invention in the field of Food improvement or tissues?????

Posted by zyrah at 2:32 am at 10. July 2011

wow….so enteresting breakthroughs….

Posted by patrick at 5:31 pm at 26. December 2011

amazing breakthroughs!! New Scientist

Posted by saba at 8:44 am at 18. January 2012

WOW an amazing break through my field study!!!!! Am proud to a biotechnologist.

Posted by saba at 8:47 am at 18. January 2012

wow…..an amazing break through….. my field of study!!! Am proud of being BIOTECHNOLOGIST.

Posted by sujitha at 2:54 am at 17. February 2012

All these breakthrough innovations are really intresting………!

Posted by HABIB at 12:04 pm at 29. February 2012

wow,,,nice acheivment

Posted by HABIB at 12:04 pm at 29. February 2012

wow …nice

Posted by Steven at 3:52 pm at 11. April 2012

Ewwww. What’s that’s? LMAO.

Posted by anil at 1:54 am at 27. April 2012

very nice innovations especially Engineered Tobacco Plants as Biofuel may be it will be very useful

Posted by preethy at 1:28 am at 16. June 2012

wonderful breakthroughs………but what happens to the oil spilling bacteria after it finishes it work?

Posted by Arpita Paul at 11:14 am at 23. August 2012

This article is really amazing. Got 2 knw mny new things. . .thnx 4 publishing and keep on doing this. ….

Posted by Likhitha at 7:41 am at 26. August 2012

All these new inventions are making me proud for opting biotech as my study field…:)

Posted by Anitha at 8:42 pm at 26. August 2012

These innovations definitely gonna help the world to step forward…

Posted by michel thomas at 7:51 am at 1. September 2012

wow it is amazing innovations to help human life in future…! As i am a student of biotechnology i am very interest to see the innovations and more inspire to me!!!!!

Posted by seeni vasan at 7:54 am at 1. September 2012

its juzz an interesting site to view thro’

Posted by vikas gupta at 2:50 am at 4. September 2012

oil eating bacteria was best

Posted by vikas gupta at 2:52 am at 4. September 2012

your article is veryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
good (((sarcastic view ha ha ha ))))

Posted by Yazar at 4:22 pm at 17. September 2012

I hope the writer of this great alcrtie reads this comment:In your alcrtie you state: The second, “killer application”, is turning the Bloom Box into an energy storage system. Fuel cells, you see, can be run in reverse – you put electricity (say from solar cells) and water in, you get hydrogen out. Then, when you need the power, you run the hydrogen back through the fuel cell and get electricity back. Voila. Energy storage problem solved. BIG PROBLEM with this idea: The Bloom Box would consume about 40-60% of the electric energy produced by the solar panels to generate the Hydrogen. So if the solar panels generate say 10 Kilowatt-hours (KWh)we now have 4 KWh left of potential energy stored as Hydrogen. Then when we need the power we fire up the Bloom Box and use that Hydrogen to generate electricity and in that process we lose another 40-60% of the electric power generating electricity from that Hydrogen resulting in 1.6 KWh of electricity to use.So now let’s figure out what the losses are we started out with 10 KWh and we pushed that to the Bloom Box to store that power for us and when we needed it the Bloom Box handed back 1.6 KWh. Hmmm, that is a net energy loss of 94%. So if the Bloom Box were a bank and I wanted to store my money there and I asked the banker how much they charged to keep my money for a day or so and the banker told me that they charged 94%! I don’t think I would put my money there and I certainly wouldn’t buy the Bloom Box or any other fuel cell as a power storage device.In fact the fuel cell has the same problem that solar panels and wind power generation have. Fuel cells need a power storage device in the solution so that they can handle the fluctuating power demand of any home or business. Right now their model assumes that the power storage they need is the grid!

Posted by anupriya at 2:43 am at 18. September 2012

I’m a student belongs to KVCET… It was an wonderful achievement in preparing TOBBACO as a biofuel… being as a biotech student i feel very proud to be an part of this field

Posted by Krykt at 5:30 pm at 16. October 2012

Yazar, your comment may hold some truths but in no way can you compare this to a bank holding your money. the analogy holds no baring on the topic of discussion. Therefore, you are just another arrogant moron who likes to point out flaws but cannot give alternative options.

Posted by sweta at 5:53 am at 10. September 2013

it’s a great achievement in biotech tthat stem cells can be grown chemically……….!!

Posted by gagana at 8:39 am at 23. October 2013

its a nice breakthrough in case of bioremediation,stemcell

Posted by sujatha at 9:49 am at 23. October 2013

really a great breakthrough in biotechnology this insist me in research field I am very very proud as biotechnologysist……..

Posted by ranjini at 6:59 am at 17. December 2013

No doudt at all. bionechnology the bhoom…… to the world

Posted by sathishkumar.N at 5:44 am at 24. December 2013

its really good work on biofuel production from tobacco plant and cancer

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