/ baɪoʊteknɒlədʒi /
bioengineering · ergonomics
1. The branch of engineering science in which biological science is used to study the relation between workers and their environments; SYN. bioengineering, ergonomics.
2. The branch of molecular biology that studies the use of microorganisms to perform specific industrial processes.
Industrial use of living organisms to manufacture food, drugs, or other products. The brewing and baking industries have long relied on the yeast microorganism for fermentation purposes, while the dairy industry employs a range of bacteria and fungi to convert milk into cheeses and yogurts. Enzymes, whether extracted from cells or produced artificially, are central to most biotechnological applications.
Recent advances include genetic engineering, in which single-celled organisms with modified DNA are used to produce insulin and other drugs.
In 1993 two-thirds of biotechnology companies were concentrating on human health developments, whilst only 1 in 10 were concerned with applications for food and agriculture.