Traditional biotechnology is the use of natural organisms by humans to create or modify foods or other useful products. Examples of traditional biotechnology include using yeasts for fermentation and practicing selective seed collection to create hardier crops.
Early civilizations used traditional biotechnology techniques in a trial and error manner without understanding why they worked. Many traditional biotechnology techniques continue to be used and improved with a growing understanding of scientific principles. For example, modern fermentation techniques carefully control the organisms used for the fermentation process. Traditional biotechnology contrasts with modern biotechnology, which refers to the deliberate manipulation of an organism's genes to modify or improve it for human use.