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President Biden recently launched a National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative that will expand the market for bio-based products and drive research in biotechnology. It will Support innovations in medicine and agriculture and will help provide alternatives to petroleum-based products or plastics.
Biotechnology – or the use of living organisms, especially microorganisms, for technological advancement – has become an important part of the American economy. Innovations in biotechnology are important in advancing the medical field – the rapid development of the Covid-19 vaccine is a prime example. It has also become important in agriculture, allowing farmers to produce larger and more nutritious fruits and vegetables.
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A lesser-known but important application of biotechnology involves reprogramming microbes to create special compounds and materials. This process is called “biomanufacturing”, and allows companies to create plastic-like products without actually using plastic. This is important because ordinary plastic is made from petroleum, or refined oil, a fossil fuel that is environmentally harmful to extract. The growing biomanufacturing industry could provide us with cleaner, more sustainable alternatives to plastic.
The market for these bio-manufactured products is significant but will expand further with the passage of the new initiative. A White House industry analysis suggests that bioengineering could account for more than a third of manufactured items globally by 2030. This could help significantly reduce the amount of plastic we use, therefore weakening our reliance on oil and fossil fuels.
As well as growing the market for biomanufacturing, Biden’s initiative will expand research opportunities in the biotechnology field. As seen in the production of the mRNA vaccine during the Covid-19 pandemic, government funding and Support can lead to rapid innovation. This initiative supports research to generate solutions to climate change, medical breakthroughs, and agricultural innovations.
Additionally, the initiative will encourage diversity in the field of biotechnology, focusing on training all Americans and advancing racial and gender equality. It is hoped that it will enhance the US economy while providing solutions to plastic production and Climate change, encouraging medical and agricultural innovation, and promoting diversity in the workforce.
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