Biotechnology and scientific agricultural progress

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    Authors & editors

    Publisher Milling & Grain
    Year of publication 2017 March

    Medium Digital

    Cereal processes > Cereal and milling science



    Scope & contentClifford Spencer, , Goodwill Ambassador, NEPAD and Chairman, Milling4Life

    When discussing milling and grain-associated technologies, as well as developments the area of bioscience is assuming greater importance globally, it helps produce the grains or whichever crop is concerned but it also increasingly involved in the adding of value to waste streams or as they are now called, bi or co products.

    The areas I was investigating in my interviews were green biotechnology (agriculture and forestry) and white (industrial) biotechnology, is about the use of living organisms and processes to achieve specific outcomes. Composting, bread-making, molecular plant breeding and brewing are all biotechnologies whereas the general public often seems to think it is all about this genetic modification of organisms.

    Modern bioscience intimately explores, evaluates and develops living yeasts, enzymes and other chemicals of life to the benefit of us all. Rye, wheat and oats are the temperate grains that are used to produce the breads that I enjoy daily, and durum grains are used for pasta and these benefit daily from significant scientific and financial investment. These are also all temperate grains that grow well in Europe, but as soon as you venture into other geographical and climate areas that are experienced in developing countries then different staple grains rule. Going deeper into the role of science in these developments in the subject of grain, feedstock choice also covers methods of crop production and technological developments in that area. The modern trend is away from synthetic inputs of insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilisers that were developed to challenge nature. We are now moving more and more towards working with nature and using techniques and processes that respect that difference in approach. A basic example of this is our changing treatment of soil, which, in many developed economies including my own in the UK, has been severely damaged, by its treatment as a growing medium rather than the complex living biome that it actually represents. Only a teaspoon of healthy soil contains vast numbers of living organisms…read more.


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