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Title: Some Aspects of Biotechnology Relevant in the National Context
Authors: Chaturvedi, H C
Agnihotri, Savita
Keywords: Bioethanol;Bioremediation of sewage;Citrus industry;Germplasm preservation;Herbal drugs;Meristem culture;Micropropagation;Reforestation;Tissue culture
Issue Date: Jan-2002
Publisher: NISCAIR-CSIR, India
Abstract: Biotechnology encompasses all such plant processes, which may have practical or commercial application, albeit only temporarily a distinction may be made between fundamental and applied biotechnological research. But in all cases, priorities must be drawn for biotechnological research in the context of a developing nation, like, India with practicable objectives either realizable immediately or in the near future for economic growth of the country as well as protection and improvement of human health, putting the promise research on the back burner. Some of the aspects of Biotechnology, which may be brought to fruition with the already existing technologies and resources having down-to-earth objectives, are identified here. 1. Boosting citrus industry: In the face of the rich heritage of citrus germ plasm, vast orchard area and suitable agroclimates for commercially important Citrus species, the Citrus Industry can be boosted with the application of a recent breakthrough of meristem culture if not some other techniques also. 2. Micropropagation of forest trees for reforestation: It is estimated that the green cover in the country is reduced to more than 55%, resulting in change of agroclimates, loss of biodiversity and many other related evil effects besides, shortage of wood. Micropropagation of forest trees, which is the only process to produce requisite number of plants, at a rapid rate, in the shortest possible period of time. 3. Standardization of herbal drugs: There exists a world herbal market worth $ 50 billion, in which Indian share is hardly 0.1 % despite India being the home of herbal traditional drugs of Ayurveda. One of the main reasons for this is non-standard herbal formulations and gross adulteration of scientifically unidentified plant materials, in which context biotechnology can provide solutions. 4. Germplasm preservation for conservation of phytodiversity: Conservation of biodiversity, precisely phytodiversity for the survival of the human race is imperative. And the role of in vitro strategies for germplasm preservation and establishment of Gene Banks or Germplasm Repositories cannot be overemphasized. 5. Bioremediation and purification of sewage: The huge quantity of sewage is discharged everyday in the rivers, which constitute a major source for drinking water and poses a threat to the human health. As practiced by advanced countries, remediation of sewage by efficient biotechnological processes using bacteria and a few algae should be done and the purified sewage can be used for irrigation purpose, while the remaining quantity may be discharged in rivers minimising the health risk. 6. Production of bioethanol fuel: In view of the acute shortage of petrol, production of bioethanol to be used as fuel in automobiles is not only unavoidable, but also feasible by utilizing sugarcane as a raw material; sufficient quantity of sugarcane crop can be produced through well-established procedure for its micropropagation.
Page(s): 17-28
ISSN: 0975-0967 (Online); 0972-5849 (Print)
Appears in Collections: IJBT Vol.01(1) [January 2002]

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