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As evident from the Fig. 1.1 the birth place of modern Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology and the source of its continuing inspirations from process biotechnology is academia.
Researchers in industries and university/institute laboratories funded largely by federal grants developed most of the techniques of fermentation biotechnology, molecular biology, bimolecular designing/redesigning, monoclonal antibody technology, immunological, mammalian, plant cell culture biotechnology etc. that have given rise to modern bioengineering and biotechnology.
In turn academic researchers were among the first to recognize commercial utility and many of them were among the founders, promoters and directors of the new process biotechnology companies. At present the companies involved in process biotechnology remain vitally interested in research being conducted and in progress in institutes and universities and related biotechnology area.
The new industry views academia as a reservoir of new ideas and as suppliers of trained human resources and talented consultants. Companies involved in biotechnology realize that one of the best ways to do this is to expose their researchers and development engineers to scientists and academicians working in fundamental and applied research areas. It also provides the new companies with a view of the technology, while not requiring large investment in facilities and personnel.
Almost all biochemical industries have now recognized the need for proper biochemical and chemical engineering inputs in setting up of the production units and in their operation. Not only that, there is at present a good deal of emphasis being given to provide adequate inputs in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology in setting up of new units as well as in improving and expanding of the existing units.
In more contemporary years (late nineteen sixties) fermentation process in biotechnological industries in many countries which represented most of the biochemical industry was set up and expanded primarily using the skills of microbiologists, biochemists and engineers.
In those days most of the scientists and technologists employed in industry were trained and obtained working experiences in fermentation biotechnology and techniques from some of the leading universities and institutions abroad, notably in USA, UK, Germany and France.
Internationally Biotechnology has been set for a big leap. It required integrated approach to education and research. Besides this the need for gearing towards R&D, evolving and identifying priority areas like agriculture, health care, animal productivity and infrastructure development were emphasized by the Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India and many of the eminent scientists in the country and involved industrial dignitaries.
The cause of this big leap of biotechnology is stated to be due to the major revolution in the field of life sciences. Innovations in process biotechnology have primarily been brought about through an increased understanding of bio-systems at cellular and molecular levels.
These understandings relate to advances in process biotechnology concerns of tissue culture, recombinant DNA cell bio-processing or genetic engineering, plasmid and gene transfer, immunology, photosynthesis, scale up etc. Even the consumption and demand of antibiotics, the classical industrial biotechnology product in the country is reported to increase fast.
Therefore the exciting advances of biotechnology have posed before scientists a challenge of either setting their own priorities guided by logic of science or the rationale governing the industries. Considering all these exciting progress in the area it has been stated that impressive array of accomplishments in process biotechnology has been amassed and some notable among them have been listed out for a demonstration in bioprocess industry.
Rapid advances in present era in molecular cell biology together with the acquisition of important new knowledge in related fields like biochemistry, microbiology, engineering biology and bioengineering sciences have brought about a large potential for process biotechnology industries.
In the field of biochemical engineering and biotechnology new innovative developments and commercial applications are appearing rapidly in every direction including fermentation industries, enzymes, immobilized cell biotechnology, treatment biotechnology of industrial wastes and bye product utilization. Any integrated successful process biotechnology will be useful to society, attractive to industries for commercial benefits and that will take care of loss prevention, value addition to products and co-products and minimization of pollution hazard.