Also known as “bioconversion technology”, biotechnology combines the science of living beings, in other words biology, and all new technologies developed in different disciplines such as genetics, computer science or biophysics.
Biotechnology companies make up a vast and growing French ecosystem. All the conditions are met for students and junior candidates who wish to find a first job and join a work team driven by the desire to develop innovative solutions.
What is biotechnology?
biotechnology is “the application of science and technology to living organisms, as well as their components, products and models, to modify living or non-living materials for the purpose of producing knowledge, goods and services.
Biotechnology therefore calls on know-how from various fields such as biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, chemistry and even microbiology.
Combined with technological and technical skills, biology becomes an exciting field where fundamental knowledge and engineering sciences meet to develop innovative solutions.
In the field of biotechnology, there are many professions in various sectors of activity. Here are some examples identified
Research engineer: specialized in biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology or even toxicology, the research engineer’s mission is to carry out a new scientific project and to follow its path from the research stage to the development of the final product.
Responsible for pharmacovigilance: he monitors the tolerance of products developed before they are marketed. Its skills enable it to guarantee patient safety and compliance with European legislation.
Product manager: after carrying out a market study, he develops the sales strategy for a new product, process or service. A product manager also controls the budget needed for manufacturing and marketing to consider profits.
Marketing and innovation engineer: in practice, he proposes a definition of the product and designs commercial action plans and promotional campaigns. Its mission is to bring a new solution to its first realization.
Process engineer: his general vision of production processes allows him to design and modify production equipment to enable the manufacture of products at a lower cost while respecting safety and environmental standards.
Responsible or responsible for regulatory affairs: his knowledge of the European legislation in force allows him to guarantee the conformity of the products. He compiles a file, transmits it and ensures its follow-up with the competent administrative authorities.
Biotechnology is the study of biological systems and living organisms to develop or modify products or processes for practical purposes. This multidisciplinary approach can make it possible to face the current challenges associated in particular with food, the environment and health.
Nowadays, various issues lead companies to be more attentive to consumer health and to develop more eco-responsible food products. In addition, access to new agricultural land is increasingly limited as the world’s population grows rapidly.
Agricultural biotechnologies are currently being used to complement and improve the efficiency of traditional techniques. Their combination aims to increase crop yield, strengthen plants against diseases, pests and extreme environmental conditions (drought and extreme cold) to reduce the use of phytosanitary products while improving their nutritional quality if necessary. .
To achieve this, genetic crossing between different species is carried out, for example. Specifically, a gene identified as conferring an advantage is introduced into the DNA of a plant to give it a desired trait. In this way, it is also possible to eliminate certain characteristics of unwanted plants. Thus, the application of biotechnology in the agricultural sector makes it possible to improve the precision of plant selections, which would not be possible using only the traditional crossing of related species.
In addition, biotechnological processes are used in the food industry to improve the quality of the process of transforming agricultural products into food for human and animal consumption.
For example, fermentation, which is a biochemical reaction, makes it possible to preserve food products longer by slowing down the natural degradation of microorganisms and to increase the nutritional quality of foods while facilitating their digestion.
In addition, certain enzymes of plant, microbial and animal origin are added in foodstuffs such as protease to tenderize meat. In this way, their application allows the development of formulations that are more respectful of consumer health by replacing certain synthetic chemical products. These biodegradable proteins are also used as biological catalysts, which allows many industrial processes to be more ecological, called eco-processes, due to their lower consumption of energy and chemicals that can be toxic.
Biotechnological processes play one of the main roles in combating climate change by reducing the development of waste that is harmful to the planet. More specifically, biological systems such as microorganisms are used to degrade pollutants present in water, air and soil.
The application of bioreactors or biofilters in the treatment of wastewater and industrial effluents aims to eliminate the toxic substances contained in these substrates by bringing them into contact with microorganisms. In general, the latter are selected according to the specificity of their metabolism to degrade the contaminant by using it as a source of energy.
In the same way, anaerobic digesters are used to biodegrade solid waste, which makes it possible to recover part of it as renewable energy (biogas) while being environmentally friendly.
In addition, microbiological detectors are used to identify the presence of pollutants. These biosensors consist of a biological system (enzymes, antibodies, bacteria, etc.) and an electronic device to measure the amount of contaminants. Their operation consists of a biological reaction when the substance to be detected comes into contact with microorganisms.
Consequently, the activity of many biological systems makes it possible to limit the impacts on the planet by acting on the degradation (bioremediation) and the detection of certain toxic products for the environment.
Many advances in the field of health are made thanks to biotechnologies, because they make it possible to treat certain pathologies as well as better determine their presence. Indeed, the activity of certain genetic diseases has been identified by DNA sequencing techniques allowing the development of more effective treatments.
Among these biotechnologies is cell therapy, which aims to replace failing cells with new ones, generally derived from stem cells, in order to treat a deficient organ or organism. Beyond tissue regeneration, artificial organs are currently under development.
On the other hand, biomedicines rely on the activity derived from living organisms such as antibodies to treat various diseases. In this way, they group together all the drugs whose active ingredient is associated with a biological source, such as antibiotics and vaccines.
As a result, biotechnologies have contributed to the development of biological drugs and new, more effective treatments. In addition, they represent a key element of therapeutic innovation.
To conclude, biotechnology has enabled many advances, particularly in relation to human health and that of our planet. It is currently employed in various fields and promotes their scientific and technological advancement. However, its use is not unanimous due to some more controversial aspects associated with it such as genetically modified organisms.