According to the Biotechnology Industry Organization, there are more than 250 biotechnology products available, including medicines, vaccines, fertilizers, pest-resistant crops, bio-fuels and bio-defense products. Some specific bio-tech products include an anthrax detection device, non-browning apples, snake venom antitoxin, insulin, ethanol and Treethanol, which is a fuel made from tree cellulose.
Biotechnology is being used to develop new products and technology to fight diseases, reduce pollution, improve agriculture and manufacture products while creating less pollution and waste.
In the medical field, companies are using biotechnology to develop new drugs more rapidly and efficiently. Biotechnology identifies genes and proteins that are associated with diseases. The companies use the genes as drug targets and diagnostic markers. They screen thousands of compounds to identify effective drugs. They refine the chemicals, check for toxicity, and then move into clinical trials.
The other area that biotechnology is prevalent is in food production. There are just a few major companies, such as Dow and Monsanto, who use biotechnology in their research and development processes to produce genetically modified grains and vegetables. DuPont has created insect-, drought- and heat-resistant crops that grow in poor soil with less fertilizer. They are also working on livestock feed that will reduce cholesterol content in food products like meat and eggs.