Alex Oppenheim Omaha: Biotech is Helping to Feed the World

In general, biotechnology is a technology based on biology, that helps improve our health and the life on this planet. In the past couple of years, biotechnology has been used to make a number of useful products, to fight diseases, improve manufacturing processes, reduce our environmental footprint, and help feed the world. Alex Oppenheim Omaha is a graduate the Nebraska-Lincoln University with a special interest in agricultural biotechnology. Some of the latest advances and breakthroughs in biotech have facilitated the use of more environmentally sustainable farming practices, helping to feed the world.  By developing new technologies, new tools and products, bio-technologists like Alex Oppenheim Omaha have improved crop insect resistance, and have further enhanced crop herbicide tolerance.

golden-rice-flickr

These novel solutions have generated higher crop yields with fewer inputs, and have prevented the environment from pollution or from agricultural chemicals contamination of land. Farmers have been able to reduce tilling farmland by using biotech crops that need fewer applications of pesticides, thus developing crops with enhanced nutritional value, producing food which is free of toxins and allergens, and improving the overall food and crop oil content in order to help improve cardiovascular health. Alex Oppenheim Omaha explains that in an attempt to improve human health, especially in those poorer, underdeveloped countries, scientists have created foods rich in nutrients that help fight certain diseases or starvation. For example, Vitamin A is a necessary nutrient which unfortunately lacks in the diets of the poor people in most Asian countries. By cloning three genes, two from daffodils and one from a bacterium, scientists were able to create the so called golden rice, which contains enough beta-carotene, the main Vitamin A manufacture in our bodies. The name comes from the color of the grain.

For a long time now, biotechnology and its application to food processing in developing countries has been subject of debate and discussion. Many people think that biotechnology is a new area for exploration, but Alex Oppenheim Omaha states that natural biological processes have been used for food production for more than 8,000 years, which means that its rich history actually dates back to the domestication of crops and livestock, which made it possible for civilizations to prosper.

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