Categories: Biotechnology
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About Course

Biotechnology is technology that utilizes biological systems, living organisms or parts of this to develop or create different products.

Brewing and baking bread are examples of processes that fall within the concept of biotechnology (use of yeast (= living organism) to produce the desired product). Such traditional processes usually utilize the living organisms in their natural form (or further developed by breeding), while the more modern form of biotechnology will generally involve a more advanced modification of the biological system or organism.

With the development of genetic engineering in the 1970s, research in biotechnology (and other related areas such as medicine, biology etc.) developed rapidly because of the new possibility to make changes in the organisms’ genetic material (DNA).

Today, biotechnology covers many different disciplines (eg. genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, etc.). New technologies and products are developed every year within the areas of eg. medicine (development of new medicines and therapies), agriculture (development of genetically modified plants, biofuels, biological treatment) or industrial biotechnology (production of chemicals, paper, textiles and food).

The main action areas for biotechnology as important in research  and  development  activities  can  be  seen  as  falling  into  three  main  categories:

  • Industrial supplies  (biochemicals,  enzymes  and  reagents for industrial and food processing);
  • Energy (fuels from renewable resources)
  • Environment (pollution diagnostics,  products  for  pollution prevention, bioremediation).

The start of the 21st century has found biotechnology emerging as a key enabling technology for sustainable environmental protection.  The  requirement  for  alternative  chemicals, feedstocks for fuels, and a variety of commercial products  has  grown  dramatically  in  the  early  years  of  the  21st century, driven by the high price of petroleum, policies to  promote  alternatives  and  reduce  dependence  on  non-renewable energy sources, and increasing efforts to reduce net emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The social,  environmental  and  economic  benefits  of  environmental  biotechnology  go  hand-in-hand  to  contribute  to  the  development  of  a  more  sustainable  society.

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What Will You Learn?

  • Principles of toxicology
  • Chemical interactions of the toxicants
  • Classification of pollutants
  • Environmental transport
  • Fate of pollutants.
  • Absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination of toxicants in humans
  • Toxicant Interactions with major body systems
  • Synergistic effects of toxin mixtures.

Course Content

Principles of Toxicology
Environmental toxicology is a multidisciplinary field of science concerned with the study of the harmful effects of various chemical, biological and physical agents on living organisms. Ecotoxicology is a subdiscipline of environmental toxicology concerned with studying the harmful effects of toxicants at the population and ecosystem levels. Organisms can be exposed to various kinds of toxicants at any life cycle stage, some of which are more sensitive than others. Toxicity can also vary with the organism's placement within its food web. Bioaccumulation occurs when an organism stores toxicants in fatty tissues, which may eventually establish a trophic cascade and the biomagnification of specific toxicants. Biodegradation releases carbon dioxide and water as by-products into the environment. This process is typically limited in areas affected by environmental toxicants. Harmful effects of such chemical and biological agents as toxicants from pollutants, insecticides, pesticides, and fertilizers can affect an organism and its community by reducing its species diversity and abundance. Such changes in population dynamics affect the ecosystem by reducing its productivity and stability.(Wikipedia)

  • Principles of Toxicology
  • Environmental Pollution
  • Classification of pollutant based on degradability
  • Fate and transport of pollutants in plants
  • Quiz on Toxicants and Pollutants

Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Elimination of Toxins in humans.
Absorption is the transfer of a chemical from the site of exposure, usually an external or internal body surface, into the systemic circulation. Toxicants are removed from the systemic circulation by biotransformation, excretion, and storage at various sites in the body.

Pollutants: Surface Pollutants
Surface pollutants cause damage by accumulating near the Earth's surface. Global pollutants cause damage by concentrating on the atmosphere.