Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

Introduction to Biotechnology

So what is biotechnology? Biotechnology, the original definition by Karl Ereky in 1919, is biology based technology. Now this is a very broad and the general definition. The modern definition is more specific. Technologies that use living organisms, living cells, cell culture or even enzymes, in the production or modification of drug. And biotechnology product, of course, are the product produced by the use of biotechnology. For example, the first biotech products, humanized insulin was marketed in 1987 by Eli Lilly and the Genentech. Let me start out with the biotechnology history now. 6000 B.C. farmers already know how to select seeds for replanting and select livestock for breeding. So that’s biotechnology based on the broad definition of biotechnology. 5,000 years B.C.
people used yeast to ferment wine and bread. 1000 B.C. lactic acid producing bacteria was used to make yogurt and cheese . This is the cheese making process Cheese is made from raw milk. And that during the cheese-making, the most important step is the addition of microorganisms. And this organisms, microorganisms included Lactococci, Lactobacilli, Streptococci and for the very famous swiss cheese, the Propionibacterium shermanii.

At its earliest, biotechnology was simply defined as any technology based on biology (Karl Ereky, 1919). By this general definition, humans practiced biotechnology very early in civilization, including the selection of seeds for replanting and livestock for breeding. Modern biotechnology exploits principles, techniques and tools to manipulate living organisms and biological systems for the production or modification of biologics.

Coined by Karl Ereky in 1919, biotechnology has evolved into a distinctive scientific discipline and multi-billion dollar industries. Cheese, yoghurt, bread, beer and wine are all made by fermentation, a biotechnological process that involves microorganisms. These dairy products not only advanced biotechnology but provided pleasure to early human civilization. The first biotechnology product, rh-Insulin was marketed in 1987 by Lilly/Genentech.

Have you ever make cheese before? Do you know other usages of microorganisms?

Reading reference: -Allen LV, Popovich NG, Ansel HC Ansel’s Pharmaceutical Dosage Forms and Drug Delivery Systems. 9th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins; 2010. ISBN: 0-7817-4612-4 (Chap 19) -Crommelin, DJA, Sindelar, RD, Meibohm, B. Pharmaceutical Biotechnology: Fundamentals and Applications, 3rd Ed. Informa Healthcare, 2007. ISBN 9781420044379 (Chap 1, 4, 5, 6, 22) -Firdos Alam Khan. Biotechnology Fundamentals, CRC Press, 2012. ISBN 978-1-4398-2009-4

These are textbooks that related to this week’s content. If you have change to look at them, you will be able to find the content we have talked about. Skipping them will not interfere with your understanding on this course.

This article is from the free online

Pharmacotherapy: Understanding Biotechnology Products

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education