By: Ifan Aulia Candra, SP, M.Biotech
In this day and age, the demand for agricultural production is growing very rapidly. This circumstance happens to be a tremendous problem in worldwide dealing with every sector. This Phenomenon has been witnessing especially in developing countries as they could neither make afford to buy food nor growing substantial crops. Many of their people are suffering from health problems such as malnutrition. Another impact of this condition is related to the individual immunity system toward infectious germ like bacteria, viruses, and fungi, as well as many other contagious diseases, could barely low. As a result, the mortality rate might higher and this could be complicated when it comes to finding its appropriate and effective solution.
There are a number of factors that could lead to low production in agriculture. These factors may affect either directly or indirectly to food security in certain countries. Farming area limitation is one of the problems we are facing these days since the number of people on planet earth is constantly growing. Many of the farming lands were transformed into residence or public facility even urban factories. This transition may prompt to instability in the agroecosystem. this, moreover, is also complicated regarding deforestation by which lowering air quality we inhale on day to day basis. Another factor is the attack of both broad and narrow spectrum phytopathogen not to mention invading on pest. There are many reports regarding this issue that happened in the country even Indonesia. One of the popular histories ever recorded that there were great femine problem in Ireland because of potato blight disease caused by Phytophthora infestans in 1845 – 1849. This mass starvation affected entire country and was contemporaneously known in Irish as An Drochshaol. In Indonesia, there were reported the infection of Blast disease caused by fungus Pyricularia oryzae also known as rice rotten neck.
Picture. The famine occurred in 1845-1849 (https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm)
The next factor comes from bad farming applications. This includes unwise application of pesticide and fertilizer which may lead to downgrading of grown quality and pollution eventually eutrophication. Traditional farming tends to do this to improving crop production or land quality. For some reason, however, this application effective but many of the negative impacts ought to negative when it comes to its persistence and availability. the active component of pesticides is toxic to the ecosystem especially rhizosphere resulting in imbalance of soil habitat. Furthermore,
constant application on pesticides may extend groundwater we use for drinking or serving food on a daily basis. Henceforth, there should be an effective way to cope with this problem. One of which is Biotechnology perspective.
Biotechnology by definition is the discipline-technique integration in which exploits the biology matter potential to improve prosperity. The range of this approach in relevant sector is quite significant as well as the escalation of yield in agriculture. More importantly, there as tons of evidence related to the positive impact of this technique along with the improvement of it. For example, researcher reported that by using Antisense RNA technology they could postpone the spoilage of tomatoes, and by performing DNA recombinant technology expert reported they inserted pro-Vitamin A gen into Rice genome resulting golden rice. In Biotechnology, we could modify gene which is the key factor of heredity thereby applying advanced technique including DNA recombinant technology, genome editing, and genome analysis. This technology could not be achievable without any support in cutting-edge facilities and human resources. Yet, the impact of this technique is convincing. furthermore, there are some developed countries where this approach has been applied for elevating crop production or plant breeding.
Theoretically speaking, Biotechnology covers conventional and modern approaches. It is not only underlining one genetic technique but also conventional technique which dates back to the fermentation and dairy production process. This method has been performed in making substantial products such as yogurt, butter, wine, and also antibiotics. these products are generated by employing certain beneficial microorganism thereby providing nutrition them in a bioreactor in which adding growth media, a vitamin needed together with the proper environment for bacteria. The reason using microorganisms is exactly because of their multiplication capability in a short time under favorable conditions. Another reason is its simple genome organization. Because of its simplicity, the research would be able to reorganize or modify the gene or inserting foreign gen inside of bacteria by employing a transformation vector called Plasmid. This is circular DNA located in bacteria outside of bacterial genome which has its autoregulation on replication and gene expression. Researcher uses it to generate gene transformation.
There are tons of applications of biotechnology as well as its potential in improving agricultural prosperity. Currently, an expert has discovered groundbreaking inventions in genome editing called Crispr/Cas9. This approached enables researcher to modify genes very precisely by only performing specific chemical reactions and certain enzyme call “Cas9” isolated from common bacteria called Bacteriophage. the enzyme acts like scissor and has mechanism in correcting the gene prompt to mutation. Surprisingly, this technology has already been applied to many sectors including agriculture, and has a significant impact to plant resistance and other plants beneficial character. All things considered, prove that biotechnology could be an effective strategy to achieve agricultural prosperity.