Renewable resources are endangered by non-regulated and industrial activities. Efforts on how to save the environment from these activities have moved beyond the tables of United Nations discussions to being actualized by the major playing bodies and white biotechnology will be the revolutionizing force. The original state of the global ecosystem was such that the natural cycle was non-disrupted. Man grew plants to feed himself and the livestock. Plants and their by-products were naturally renewable through support from the ecosystem and animals. The water cycle created a renewable form of water resources. But this was not going to remain this way.
Challenges Facing Renewable Resources
Waves of urbanization, industrialization and increasing global population brought about a shift from the traditional means of life sustainability. Agriculture was industrialized. Equipment that dug deep into the soil brought about monoculture, erosion, and reclamation of wetlands including the use of harmful pesticides that destroyed soil fertility.
Industrial and unsustainable use of renewable resources endangers earth’s species leaving them vulnerable. Animals are on the verge of extinction. Within the past four decades, the black market use of rhinoceros reduced their population by 90%. Horseshoe crabs possess blue blood which is highly valued in medicine but their usage comes with a price to human existence; they are largely endangered.
About a thousand million tonnes of southern African soil is estimated to be eroded annually according to an expert study. If this is not corrected, the number of crops produced could be halved within the next 30 to 50 years. Large-scale factory farming is depleting the soil’s fertility and may lead to arable soil not being available.
Plant and animal-sourced renewables have also come under threat. Clothing fabrics, lubricants, industrial oils, fiber, hemp, paper and pulp, food and feed, textiles, biodegradable plastics are sourced from woods. Latex, resins, ethanol, sugar, and starch are gotten from plant renewables.
Application of White Biotechnology and its Value-Added Chain
White biotechnology also known as industrial biotechnology is the use of microorganisms and enzymes to supplement the production of renewable resources. Its vast applications in industrial production are in the chemical industry, agro-food sectors, and the pharmaceutical industry. Other segments of white biotech are biofuels, biomaterial, biochemicals, biopesticides, industrial enzymes.
Livestock production and other dairy products for human consumption is projected to increase with white biotech influence, meeting the high demand for meat and other animal products. Amino acids and vitamins are some of the most priced in terms of market share in the white biotech market. Bio Enzymes, amino acids, and vitamins used in animal husbandry will also increase their nutritional value, shelf life, increasing the source of revenue for governments and businesses.
White biotechnology is also used in making detergents that are not dangerous to the water and the environment and reducing wanted water pollution. According to research, a huge percentage of water is not recyclable due to the pollutants present in them. Sea animals will also find their habitat conducive thereby reducing the number of animals at the verge of extinction due to water pollution.
White biotechnology also has its presence in the production of bioplastics. Bioplastics are known to be biodegradable under controlled composting conditions, reducing over-dependence on crude-sourced plastics and carbon emissions.
Impact of White Biotechnology
As white biotech continues to gain wide market application due to environmental policies, market investment in the sector, global awareness, and regulatory policies, the market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 10.5% between 2020-2025 according to a study. Many other factors that are expected to drive this growth are its environmentally friendly means of industrial production, low cost of production, and reduced energy consumption, and increasing demand for cleaner energy.
Industrial biotechnology will reduce the weight on nature to provide for the ever-growing population, enabling for recycling of natural renewables.
Increasing market demand for biotech products will increase the investment in the field. Job creation
Challenges Facing White Biotechnology
Technological innovations are great but can not grow on their own. Although there are growing needs for sustainable renewable energies, challenges confronting them can not be overlooked While there are many opportunities for growth, getting past the regulatory requirements and approvals are always a hurdle taking into consideration the social, environmental, and health risks that wide application of large-scale use of agro foods, and feed for industrial purposes.
Considering the rapid conversion of advances in research into products and processes, monitoring the developments in modern biotechnology seems necessary to identify policy-relevant emerging issues and carefully assess the risks and benefits early on in the process.
Other challenges are increasing global awareness and sensitization, creating the need for higher demand of the products when they have met all safety standards, and increased investment in the sector.