Bioprocess technology is one of the rapidly emerging fields in today's world. It combines the researches in life sciences and the engineering methodology to enhance the growth of organisms or generate target products on large scale, under optimum conditions.
The global bioprocess technology market is expanding from the growth experienced in biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. This market industry is currently experiencing escalated research funding, more and more government support and new drug inventions. All of these along with more prevalence of chronic ailments will keep the demand for bioprocess technologies sky high during the forecast period.
The existence of bioprocess technology can be traced back to centuries since the people started using the method of fermentation to brew beer. Some scientific advancement were made in the nineteenth and twentieth century but it was only during the World War II that thedisciplinecaught the public eye when the pioneers in the fields of technology and biology came together for large scale production of penicillin antibiotic. Since then, the field has expanded tremendously. It involved genetics, biochemistry, mathematics, computer science and many other fields to spread out its applications in pharmaceuticals, food- processing, biofuels, antibiotics, environmental cleaning, etc.
Pharmaceutical industry owes its development to the biotherapeutics which include proteinssuch as interferon, growth hormone, and insulin, vaccines, polysaccharides, diagnostics and low-molecular-weight pharmaceutical chemicals.In spite of many available options, most of the antibodies are made from E. Coli bacteria since a lot of knowledge has been acquired about it in the last 50 years.The other major health care products produced with the help of bioprocess technology are steroids and gene therapy vectors. Further experiments are being conducted to develop bio-processed drugs for AIDS, cancer, bone marrow transplant, hemophilia, corneal transplant, diabetes, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, malaria and many more severe chronic problems.
Food industry is the other one enjoying benefits of this discipline. Dairy products: cheese, sour cream, yogurt, and keﬁr; alcoholic beverages: beer, wines, and distilled spirits; plant products: soy sauce, tofu and sauerkraut, along with food additives and supplements: ﬂavors, proteins, vitamins, and carotenoids; all of these are the result of traditional fermentation processes with microorganisms.
Bioprocess technology has also provided solutions to many environmental problems by taking advantage of the ability of microorganisms to use pollutants and other harmful compounds as their food source. Treatment of wastewater and solid waste, soil bioremediation and mineral recovery use the same principle.
Other fields of application include: introduction of genes in plants to develop tolerance for herbicides and pests; production of biofuels including bioethanol, biodiesel and biogas; production of useful enzymes by genetic manipulation.
As per Council on Competitiveness (1991), "Biotechnology will affect the formulation of products in agriculture, energy, environment, and human health and has potential to surpass the computer industry in size and importance, because of the pervasive role of biologically produced substances in everyday life." In the view of current scenario, there is a definite probability for this to become the truth of society in the following years.
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