colors of biotechnology

Grey Biotechnology is dedicated to the conservation and restoration of the environment. In other words, we can say, Grey biotechnology is related to all those applications that directly related to environmental problem-solving. It includes bioremediation processes, biodiversity maintenance, contaminants removal, avoiding overexploitation of fauna and flora, and reduction of pollution of the ecosystem.

It is mainly dedicated to environmental applications, maintenance of biodiversity of flora and fauna, and the removal of pollutants using various biotechnological approaches. To maintenance in Biodiversity, molecular biology to genetic analysis methods are applied for comparison, classification, and cloning of plants or animal populations and species.

Environmental Biotechnology is the main branch of Biotechnology that comes under the Grey Biotechnology field. It deals with cleaning up contaminated and wastes from the environment by industrial effluent treatment, sewage treatment, waste management, etc.

Branches of Grey Biotechnology

grey biotechnology

There are lots of applications of Grey Biotechnology related to environment conservation, preservation, and protection but it can be divided into two major branches further on the basis of its role in the conservation of the environment.

  1. Maintenance of Biodiversity
  2. Removal of contaminants

Need of Grey Biotechnology

The need for Grey Biotechnology arises due to environmental pollution that is caused by human activities like urbanization, mining, industrialization, and overexploitation of flora and fauna resources. To minimize the impact of man's activities on the environment it protecting the environment.

Every year's tons of waste products produced by various industries like chemicals, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, food, plastic, etc. cause various harmful impacts on organisms. These waste products cause pollution in the air, water, and land. If we properly manage these waste products we can reduce environmental pollution and save endangered organisms who are unable to survive due to pollutions. Currently, we are facing three main types of pollution.

  • Air Pollution
  • Water Pollution
  • Soil Pollution

All these types of pollution, threatening the environment. So will also harmful for humans, plants, animals, and all living organisms. Grey biotechnology plays a vital role in the elimination of air, water, and land pollutants or contaminants using various microorganisms, plants, and other biotechnological techniques. Biodiversity of flora and fauna is our natural resource that needs to protect. It protects those organisms who fall in the endangered category.

Goals of Grey Biotechnology

The goals of Grey Biotechnology are to protect plants, animals, and the entire nature from the pollution caused by humans. It includes bioremediation, maintenance of biodiversity, and the restoration of contaminated natural environments.

The major goals of Grey Biotechnology is under the following heads.

  • Maintain and conservation of biodiversity
  • Removal of contaminants from the environment
  • Reduction of over-exploitation of flora and fauna
  • Balancing between environment and human activities

Grey Biotechnology Applications

Grey biotechnology related to all those applications that directly related to environmental restoration and preservation. Due to lots of advancement in Biotechnological techniques, it now helping in various industries to produce environmentally friendly products that are much safer, less polluting, less greenhouse gas emitting and very helpful for the environment and living organisms. Applications of Grey Biotechnology fall under the following heads.

1. Bioremediation

Bioremediation is the application of microorganisms for removal or converting less harmful to the toxic pollutants in the soil or land. It is a biological method in which microbes are used for the transformation or degradation of contaminants to less toxic forms.

Microorganisms are capable of utilizing a various type of carbon sources and degrading a variety of typical contaminants that found in soil. The main advantage of bioremediation is its ability to destroy a wide range of organic compounds.

Bioremediation by different microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, etc., need the appropriate environment for the clean-up of the polluted site. Leather, textile, pulp, and paper industry deposits harsh chemicals to Land or soil has that can be reduced or complete eliminated by Bioremediation applications.

2. Plastic degradation

Petroleum-based plastics such as polyethylene (PE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polystyrene (PS), polypropylene (PP), polyvinylchloride (PVC), and polyurethane (PUR) are the main polluting agent on the Earth that not degrades easily.

Identification and applications of natural microorganisms that can degrade these plastic products to clean the Environment. Development of mutant microorganisms that can decompose these waste materials. Recombinant microbial enzymes also a promising way to degrade plastic wastes. So, microorganisms and microbial enzymes are the main tools of the bioremediation of waste.

3. Biodiversity Maintenance

Biodiversity is the richness of the quantity and quality of the spices varieties of flora and fauna in a particular region. To maintain Biodiversity, recording and updating the all available species, their gene banks data, genetic analysis to tracking and cloning of endangered species to preserve them.

Our environment has lots of variety of plants and animals that create an ecosystem and connected to each other at various levels by the food chain. The variety of this flora and fauna makes good biodiversity in the environment.

Due to deforestation, industrialization and pollutions, lots of plants and animals fall under the endangered category and it is very harmful to good biodiversity. Pollutants either on land or in water bodies (river, sea) causes a major impact on the terrestrial and aquatic animals and plants.

4. Sewage Treatment

After urbanization, there is a need to develop a system for human waste management. Flowing the sewages in rivers causes harmful effects on the environment and aquatic organisms. By applying biotechnological techniques large-scale microorganisms used for the treatment of sewage to the production of biogas and sludge that can be used as bio manure.

5. Biological control agents

Application of chemical agents like pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, etc. to protect the plant from disease, insects, mites, and weeds cause harmful effects on the soil and the main pollutant. So reducing these pollutants application of Biological control or biocontrol agents are safe and environment friendly.

In this method, to control the undesirable insects we increase artificially their natural enemies. The biological control of insects, pests, and plant weeds relies on the existing natural mechanisms like parasitism, predation, herbivores, etc.

Natural enemies of pests are predators, parasitoids, pathogens, predatory vertebrates, protozoan parasites, nematode parasites, and microbial pathogens.

Grey Biotechnology Examples

Some examples of Grey Biotechnology is listed below.

  • Use of Biomarkers to protect biodiversity.
  • Use of new bioremediation agents to control oil spills on the sea.
  • Creation of seed and gene banks to save the species extinct in nature.
  • Application of Biosensors for identification of hydrocarbon contaminations.
  • Development and maintenance of national parks and sanctuaries to conserve biodiversity.
  • Use of marine bacteria to decontaminate the sediments that contaminated with chlorinated pollutants.
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Grey Biotechnology plays a vital role to protect our Earth's environment from pollution and maintains its biodiversity. Protection and conservation of our environment do not save only the others it also saves us. We are part of the food chain and directly linked to each other with plants and animals. If we are unable to save them then we have to also face problems. Today Biotechnology has lots of techniques to conserve our environment and biodiversity without overexploitation of the natural resources and without polluted them.

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