health & medical writing question and need the explanation and answer to help me learn.
0 The Role of Biotechnology in Climate Change Submitted in RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Department of Biotechnology and Food Technology Compiled by Surname Initials Student Number Signature Ntombela AA 214664909 Pretorius SP 203008600 Shakoane MKG 215728587 Mathabatha MBP 212383503 Motshologane OT 215377440 FACULTY OF SCIENCE TSHWANE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY Prof. T Regnier 6 April 2020
1 Table of Contents 1. Introduction Page 3 2. Biodiesel and biofuel production and sources Page 4 2.1. First Generation Feedstock Page 5 2.2. Second Generation Feedstock Page 5 2.3. Third Generation Feedstock Page 6 3. Implication of climate change on crop production Page 7 4. Impact of crop production on the environment Page 9 4.1. Reduction in maintenance Page 9 4.2. Use of energy efficient farming Page 9 4.3. Reduced use of synthetic fertilizers Page 10 5. Industrial Biotechnology and climate change Page 10 5.1. Food Industry Page 11 5.2. Tanning & leather Industry Page 11 5.3. Dye Industry Page 11 5.4. Textile Sector Page 12 6. Conclusion Page 12 7. References Page 13
2 Abstract This paper explores the potential of the biotechnology industry and its role in climate change. It looks to highlight biotechnological innovations that could help advance the agricultural sector whilst simultaneously mitigating the effects of climate change on the environment as well as on crop production. It looks deeper into the use of genetically modified organisms such as stress tolerant crop and the increased use of nitrogen fixing microorganisms which result in high crop yields, reduction in the use of synthetic fertilizers and a reduced carbon footprint from crop production. The paper goes on to examine how the convergence of these technologies goes on to reduce the effects of greenhouse gases and the challenges therein. It explores biobased biotechnology solutions in different industrial fields and the need for an integrated and strategic approach to allow industrial biotechnology to fulfil it’s potential as a force for good in the struggle with climate change. Biotechnology methods has been integral in aiding and solving various problems on a global scale; from medical breakthroughs (creation of antibiotics), to improving food systems. Biotechnology can yet again be a key industry in solving the world’s current predicament regarding climate change. The several branches of biotechnology all, be it agricultural, industrial and chemical all have great potential in the reduction of greenhouse gases and ultimately reverse the adverse effects of climate change.
3 1. Introduction Climate change in IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g. using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/ variability of its properties, and that persist for an extended period, typically decades or longer (IPCC, 2011). Climates are changing as a result of an increase in concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs; mainly carbon dioxide CO2, methane CH4 and nitrous oxide N2O) in the earth’s atmosphere (Schulze, 2016) and there has already been mounting evidence that highlights just how much of a catastrophe climate change currently is to the global environment. Hundreds of millions of people could lose their lives and up to one million species could become extinct if the average global temperature increases by more than 2 °C (Parry M.). Currently the world relies on the use of fossil fuels such as petroleum (to fuel most modes of transportation), coal and natural gas such as methane (which are used in abundance to generate power that can be used for various things such as generating electricity) but despite our reliance on the above, the use of fossil fuels needs to be phased out as a global energy source, reason being not only because they are finite resources but because the burning of these fossil fuels are major contributors of the production of GHGs and essentially the major contributor to the phenomenon of global climate change. Other detrimental effects of climate change include a potential increase in sea level and subsequent submerging of lowlands, deltas and islands, as well as changing of weather patterns. It could adversely affect water supplies and agricultural productivity, and the need to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to avoid harmful environmental degradation has made the transition from conventional fossil fuels to alternative and renewable resources a global priority (Mohee et al., 2008) As new technologies are being developed to counter GHG emissions, industrial biotechnology should be part of the technology toolkit. According to (Bang et al., 2009), industrial or white biotechnology is one of the most promising new approaches to pollution preventions, and cost reduction. Applications of white biotechnology can contribute to meet the environmental objective to reduce GHG emissions by 20% in
4 2025. It involves the use of enzymes and microorganisms to make biobased products in a diverse variety of industry sectors. Many countries now have bioenergy strategies and targets. Besides biofuels, industrial biotechnology can contribute to climate change mitigation through diverse products in the plastic and chemical sectors (Nielsen, 2006). But in order to stop the effects of climate change, reducing the emission of these gases is only one piece of the puzzle. In this paper we also look at changing the agricultural sector by using certain genetically modified organisms to aid in crop production and how using modern biotechnology such as genetically modified stress tolerant and high yielding transgenic crops can be used an alternative to the current food production industry. 2. Biodiesel or biofuel production and sources it can be derived from. The number one alternative for fossil fuels is the use of biodiesel. The production of this renewable energy has received much attention over the years and was one of the first alternative fuels to be known to the public. Biodiesel refers to any diesel-equivalent biofuel (i.e. energy-dense compounds produced by microbes, usually by the degradation of plant materials.) made from renewable biological material, which usually needs a special process to transform it into a fuel. Often, biodiesel is more specifically defined as the monoalkyl esters of long-chain fatty acids derived from the chemical reaction (trans-esterification) of renewable feedstock, such as vegetable oil or animal fats, and alcohol with or without a catalyst. Each biodiesel source should be evaluated on its net benefit to society based on a full life-cycle analysis that includes, among other factors, its effects on the net energy supply, the global food system, greenhouse gas emissions, soil carbon and soil fertility, water and air quality and biodiversity (Sills J., 2010). The total world biodiesel production was estimated to be approximately 3.8 billion litres in 2005, with approximately 85% of its production in the European Union. Biodiesel has multiple desirable reasons why it makes for a great renewable energy source, some of those reasons include: • It is a renewable fuel that could be sustainably supplied
5 • It is highly biodegradable and has minimal toxicity • It is environmentally friendly, resulting in very low sculpture release and no net increased release of carbon dioxide, aromatic compounds or other chemical substances that are harmful to the environment (Khan S.A. et al, 2009) • It is better than petroleum-based diesel in terms of its lower combustion emission profile, and it does not contribute to global warming because of its closed carbon cycle • It can be used in existing diesel engines with little or no modification (Demirbas A. et al, 2002) • It can be blended in any ratio with when added to regular diesel fuel in an amount of 1–2% and can convert fuel with poor lubricating properties into an acceptable fuel (Gerpan V., 2005); and • Finally, it can provide improved combustion over petroleum-based diesel because of its high oxygen content (Gerpan V., 2005). Biodiesel can be derived from multiple sources and below we look closely at feedstock as a possible source. 2.1. First generation feedstock: This includes food crops such as rapeseed, soybeans, palm oil and sunflower; they are classified as first generation feedstock because, more than 95% of this biodiesel is made from edible oils (Brennan L. et al, 2010). However, this biodiesel is not sustainable enough to be used as a permanent fix, reason being it will have a major impact on the global food market and food security. Diverting food crops (whose oils are vital for human consumption) to produce oil in large-scale production of biodiesel could bring imbalance to the global food market (Gui M.M. et al, 2008), more so the production of this type of biodiesel could lead to a long lasting negative impact on the environment as it may require available arable land to support the production of biodiesel. 2.2. Second generation feedstock This includes energy crops (jatropha), tobacco seed, salmon oil, waste cooking oils, animal fats (beef tallow and pork lard) (Rattanaphra D., 2010) just to mention a few. This biodiesel makes a great alternative for using edible oils because there is no
6 impact on the global food market as well as there are more efficient and more environmentally friendly than first generation feedstock. Even though second-generation feedstocks do not typically affect the human food supply chain and can be grown in wastelands, they are not abundant enough to be used as a permanent source for energy/power generation on a global scale. Another disadvantage of biodiesel derived from vegetable oils and animal fats is their relatively poor performance at cold temperatures and with most animal fats containing a greater amount of saturated fatty acids, trans-esterification becomes difficult and results in problems in the production process (Canakci M.). 2.3. Third generation feedstock This biodiesel is derived from microalgae and has emerged as one of the most promising alternative sources to lipids (fat) in biodiesel production because of their high photosynthetic efficiency in producing biomass and their higher growth rates and productivity compared to conventional crops (Mata T.M. et al, 2010). In addition to their fast reproduction, they are easier to cultivate than many other types of plants and can produce a higher yield of oil for biodiesel production. Microalgae production also adds extra benefits, other than their intended use as an alternative renewable energy source they can be used in producing by-products such as biopolymers, proteins, carbohydrates and residual biomass (Brennan L. et al, 2010), which may be used as feed or fertilizer as well as being able to fix carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere which facilitates the reduction of atmospheric CO2 levels directly contributing to the fight against climate change. The below Figure 2.3.1 (Mata T.M. et al, 2010) indicates how efficient microalgae production is compared to other feedstocks.
7 3. Implications of climate change on crop production and their resolution through genetic engineering Genetic engineering is one of modern agricultural biotechnology’s tools and it is based on recombinant DNA technology which involves the alteration of the genetic makeup of an organism (Kumar et al., 2015). Recombinant DNA technology makes use of specific enzymes to cut, insert and alter fragments of DNA that contain one or more genes of interest (Warf, 2014). As previously mentioned climate change can affect the land and its agriculture in a variety of ways, e.g, variations in annual rainfall, rise in average temperature, heat waves, modification in weeds, pests or microbes, global change of atmospheric CO2 or increase in the ozone layer level and increases in sea level (Raza et al., 2019). The effects of climate change can induce various abiotic and biotic stresses on plants (Gull et al., 2019). Biotic stresses in plants refers to stressed induced by living organisms such as parasites, bacteria, fungi, nematodes, insects, virus etc. (Mehta, 2018) with abiotic stresses referring to those that are imposed on the plant by environmental conditions such as drought, salinity, extreme temperatures, and chemical toxicity (Tesfahun, 2018). The effects of these stresses can limit and reduce productivity on agricultural crops (Gull et al., 2019). It has been estimated that two-thirds of the yield potential of major crops are routinely lost due to unfavourable environmental conditions (Gill et al., 2010) so it is important that we can use biotechnological tools such as genetic engineering globally to produce agricultural crop that are tolerant to such environmental conditions.
8 Below Table 3.1.1 summarises some examples of genes that have been used in the production of abiotic resistance in genetically modified crop. Table 3.1.1 Some examples of genes used in the development of abiotic resistance in genetically modified (GM) crops. Source: (Mathur et al., 2017) Gene Donor Transgenic crop Drought stress tolerance MYB41 Arabidopsis thaliana Arabidopsis thaliana NF-YB1 Arabidopsis thaliana Zea Mays HARDY Arabidopsis thaliana Oryza Sativa Tps Yeast Tobacco Flooding stress tolerance ZAT12 Arabidopsis thaliana Rice RWC3 Rice Rice Salinity stress tolerance Coda Bacteria Rice, Tobacco Arginine decarboxylase Apple Apple, pear P5cs Mothbean Rice OtsA and otsB E. coli Rice ME-leaN4 Brassica napus Lettuce Cold stress tolerance Delta-12-acyl-lipid desaturase Cyanobacterium Potato APX+ Cotton Cotton FAD7 Arabidopsis Tobacco Heavy metal tolerance CUP1 Arabidopsis Sunflower MT Brassica rapa Arabidopsis YCF1 Saccharomyces cerevisiae Arabidopsis
9 According to Warf (2014), there are 27 variations of genetically modified crops that are planted commercially, so far and the total sale of biotech crops has reached approximately US$ 133,3 billion in the year 2013 since its introduction in 1996 and the yield gains have risen up to 441,4 million tons during this 18 year span (Mathur et al., 2017). 4. Impact of crop production on the environment Above we discussed how the use of genetically modified organisms can assist the agricultural sector in fighting some of the effects of climate change but here we look at some changes that can be made in crop production that will also greatly reduce climate change and its effects such as reduction in maintenance, use of energy efficient farming and reduced use of synthetic fertilizers. 4.1. Reduction in maintenance Planting crops need constant maintenance and produce a lot of greenhouse gasses due to the use of equipment such as tractors. In order to reduce the amount of green-house gasses, one need to reduce the amount of maintenance required to ensure the wellbeing of the crops. By reducing the amount of maintenance required we can reduce the use of equipment which in turn reduces the amount of fuels used to power the equipment. One way of achieving this is using genetically modified crops as mentioned above. Genetically modified crops that are resistant to biotic and abiotic stressors would not need as much maintenance as regular crops (Fares, 2014). The reduction of these greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 was equivalent to “removing 27 billion kg of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or equal to removing 11.9 million cars from the road for one year” (Sarin R. et al., 2007) 4.2. Use of Energy efficient farming With the decrease in demand on fuels due to using different technologies which enable the production of more fertile and resistant plants towards both biotic and abiotic stress, alternative fuel sources can be explored. Production of biofuels such as those mentioned earlier from both traditional and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
10 crops such as oilseed, sugarcane and rapeseed will help reduce the carbon footprint of crop production. Non edible oil-seed crops such as Jatropha tree can therefore be purposeful and be produced for the sole use as biofuel (Treasury H.M., 2009) in the farming industry. 4.3. Reduced use of synthetic fertiliser One other aspect that contribute to greenhouse gas production during crop production is the use of synthetic fertilisers. When common soil bacteria interact with synthetic fertilisers N2O are produced, contributing to greenhouse gasses. Ammonium chloride, Ammonium sulphate, sodium nitrate and calcium nitrate are examples of inorganic fertilisers that are responsible for the formation and release of greenhouse gasses (Brookes G. et al, 2009). Nitrogen fixing characteristics of Rhizobium inoculants were improved by using genetic engineering and can be used as an alternative to synthetic fertilizers. Furthermore, the use of non-leguminous plants to help to fix the nitrogen levels in the ground decreases the need for synthetic fertilisers (Zahran H.H., 2001). 5. Industrial Biotechnology and Climate Change Since the industrial revolution, economic growth has been linked with accelerating negative environmental impact. Industrial biotechnology challenges this pattern and has the potential to break the cycle of resource consumption by allowing for a rethinking of traditional industrial processes. By providing a range of options for competitive industrial performance in selected sectors, could enhance economic growth, while at the same time save water, energy, raw materials and reduce waste production. Industrial biotechnology based on renewable resources, can save energy in production processes and significantly reduce CO2 emissions. Industrial biotechnology uses enzymes and microorganisms to make biobased products in sectors as diverse as food, chemicals, detergents, healthcare, paper, energy and textiles. Agricultural products, biomass and organic waste, including food processing waste are effluents (also referred to as renewable raw materials) are transformed into other substances, in the same way as crude oil is used as a feedstock in the production of chemicals.
11 We have seen that almost all existing energy infrastructure and production processes are largely based on fossil fuels, which result in high levels of GHG emissions. In a biobased economy society is no longer wholly dependent on fossil fuels and industrial raw materials. By contrast, industrial biotechnology avoids the use of fossil resources as starting materials, but in some instances, it competes with edible feedstocks. This issue can be solved by the introduction of second-generation biofuels using non-edible biomass as a sole feedstock. Researchers predict the following biotechnology applications have a high probability of reaching the market by 2030 (Marais, 2010). 5.1. Food industry Enzymes have been used in food manufacturing for hundreds of years, mainly based on fermentation by microorganisms. They are being used in baking, fruit and vegetable processing, brewing, wine making, cheese manufacturing and meat processing. The applications of enzymes in the food industry are advantageous mainly due to their impact on processing conditions in food manufacturing plants, where enzymes use may result in savings of energy and chemicals. A few examples of enzyme technology to lessen GHG emissions are, degumming of soybean oil using phospholipase and reduced waste of bread using maltogenic amylase (DuPont et al., 2008). 5.2. Tanning and leather industry Enzymes have been used in the tanning industry for centuries because they are efficient in degrading protein and fat. Soaking enzymes reduce the required soaking time, the surfactant and soda requirements during the tanning process. Reduced soaking time leads to electricity savings. Enzymes that remove the hair during the tanning process reduce the sulphide requirements for the process. Therefore, the use of enzymes in this industry contribute positively in global warming (Nielsen, 2006). 5.3. Dye industry The production of dyes through environmentally friendly processes as well as through wastewater treatment, enzymes can help to reduce the potential environmental impact of dyes. Bioprocesses to produce biobased colourants have been developed and are used as an alternative to traditional chemical synthesis. While the creation of chemical dyes requires temperature up to 70-90 ˚C in harsh
12 conditions, the enzymatic synthesis of these colourants can be obtained at ambient temperature, under mild conditions. In this industry, enzymatic processes could help to reduce CO2 emissions and toxicity towards the environment (Marais, 2010). 5.4. Textile sector Enzymes have been used in detergents since the 1960s and since then have helped to reduce the amount of detergent released into the environment, as well as decreasing the energy needed to do laundry. In fact, detergent enzymes represent one of the largest and most successful applications of modern industrial biotechnology, according to studies conducted by Biopreffered. 6. Conclusion It is evident that one of the biggest contributors to climate change is the emission of GHGs from several agricultural and industrial processes. It is therefore important that any kind of biotechnological interventions targets these sectors and applies technology that allows processes to move away from the use of fossil fuels. Either by providing alternative sources of energy such as first, second or third generation feedstock to make biofuels or by reducing the need to use these fossil fuels by the genetic modification of crops to become more resistant to biotic and abiotic stressors so that less energy is required to continue processes in agricultural crops or the agricultural sector as a whole. But it is also important to note that all sectors of industry can in one way, or another apply biotechnology to reduce emissions, to reduce by products and waste products that may direct or indirect contributors to climate change. Making microorganisms and their enzymes an important point of study in the industrial biotechnology sector.
13 7. References Amin, S., Review on biofuel oil and gas production processes from microalgae. Antolin G., Tinaut, F.V. & Briceno, Y. (2002). Optimisation of biodiesel production by sunflower oil transesterification. Bioresour Technol Bang, H., Stein, G. L, & Mann, O. (2009). Industrial biotechnology “More than a green fuel in a dirty economy?” Brennan, L. & Owende, P. (2010). Biofuels from microalgae – a review of technologies for production, processing, and extractions of biofuels and co-products. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews; 14:557–77. Canakci, M. The potential of restaurant waste lipids as biodiesel feedstocks. Demirbas, A. (2002). Diesel fuel from vegetable oil via transesterification and soap pyrolysis. Energy Sources; 24:835–41. DuPont, G., Lewis, H. L., & Mckinsey, E. (2008). Biofuels and food. P. 84. Http://bio4eu.jrc.ec.europa.eu/documents/Bio4EU-Task2Annexindustrialproduction.pdf Eise, J., & Foster, K. (2018). How to feed the world. How to Feed the World. https://doi.org/10.5822/978-1-61091-885-5 Gerpan, V. (2005). Biodiesel processing and production. Fuel Process Technol 286:1097–1107. Gill, S. S., & Tuteja, N. (2010). Polyamines and abiotic stress tolerance in plants. Plant Signaling and Behavior, 5(1), 26–33. https://doi.org/10.4161/psb.5.1.10291 Gui, M.M., Lee, K.T. & Bhatia, S. (2008). Feasibility of edible oil vs. non-edible oil vs. waste edible oil as biodiesel feedstock. Energy; 33:1646–53. Gull, A., Ahmad Lone, A., & Ul Islam Wani, N. (2019). Biotic and Abiotic Stresses in Plants. Abiotic and Biotic Stress in Plants, 1–6. https://doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.85832 Hassan M.A., Yacob, S. & Ghani, B.A. (2005). Utilization of biomass in Malaysia-potential for CDM business. University Putra Malaysia, Faculty of Biotechnology
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15 Parry, M. Millions at Risk, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich. Rattanaphra, D. & Srinophakun, P. (2010). Biodiesel production from crude sunflower oil and crude jatropha oil using immobilized lipase. J Chem Eng Jpn; 43(1):104–8. Raza, A., Razzaq, A., Mehmood, S. S., Zou, X., Zhang, X., & Lv, Y. (2019). Impact of Climate Change on Crops Adaptation and Strategies to Tackle Its Outcome : A Review. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants8020034 Schulze, R. (2016). Agriculture and Climate Change in South Africa: On Vulnerability, Adaptation and Climate Smart Agriculture A Selection of Extracts. HANDBOOK ON ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE FOR FARMERS, OFFICIALS AND OTHERS IN THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR OF SOUTH AFRICA C. Sills, J. (2010). Science discussion. Vol 326. Available at: http://www.sciencemag.org [accessed March 2010]. Tesfahun, W. (2018). Climate change mitigation and adaptation through biotechnology approaches : A review. Cogent Food & Agriculture, 4(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1080/23311932.2018.151283 Vicente, G., Martinez, M. & Aracil, J. (2004). Integrated biodiesel production: a comparison of different homogeneous catalysts systems. Bioresour Technol; 92:297–305.
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