Biotechnology has made significant contributions to the global economy in the fields of agriculture, human and animal healthcare, environment management and processing industry. It is recognized as a rapidly emerging and far-reaching technology with the potential of contributing to next wave of technological revolution as radical and even more pervasive than that brought about by information technology. Employment generation, intellectual wealth creation, expanding entrepreneurial opportunities, augmenting industrial growth constitute a few of the compelling factors that warrant a focused approach for this sector. The Indian biotechnology sector is gaining global visibility and is being tracked for emerging investment opportunities.
There are several social concerns that need to be addressed in order to propel the emergence of biotechnology innovation in our State such as conserving bio-resources and ensuring safety of products and processes. Government and industry have to play a dual role to advance the benefits of modern biotechnology while at the same time educate and protect the interests of the public. Wide utilization of new technologies would require clear demonstration of the new added value to all stakeholders.
In India, the biotechnology sector is beginning to get global prominence and has taken shape over the past two decades through sporadic and scattered academic and industrial initiatives. It is imperative to integrate these efforts. In spite of remarkable research and development (R&D) work in the field of biotechnology, the growth of biotechnology industry has remained far from satisfactory. This has resulted in under-utilization of knowledge and manpower created in this area. Considering the high return on the investment, it is the high time to take up a suitable strategy for furthering biotech activities in the fields of healthcare, agriculture, medicine and genomics, diagnostics and environmental protection.


Table-1: Research & Development Areas in India.


Agricultural Biotechnology

*Crop developments; (including transgenic plants)
*Biopesticides & other biocontrol practices


Plant biotechnology

*Medicinal and aromatic plant improvement


Animal biotechnology

*Livestock improvement


Aquaculture and marine biotechnology


Medical biotechnology


Environmental biotechnology


Human Genetics & Genomics


Food biotechnology




Indian nanobiotechnology efforts cover a wide spectrum of areas, including microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), nanostructure synthesis and characterization, DNA chips, quantum computing electronics, carbon nanotubes, nanoparticles, nanocomposites, and biomedical applications of nanotechnology. The Indian government catalyzed, through the Department of Science and Technology, the national Nanotechnology Program, which is funded with $10 million over 3 years. India has also created a Nanomaterials Science and Technology Initiative and a National Program on Smart Materials; the latter will receive $15 million over 5 years. This program, which is focused on materials that respond quickly to environmental stimuli, is jointly sponsored by five government agencies and involves 10 research centers. The Ministry of Defence is developing projects on nanostructures magnetic materials, thin films, magnetic sensors, nanomaterials, and semiconductor materials. India has also formed a joint nanotechnology initiative with the European Union (EU). Several academic institutions are pursuing nanotechnology R&D, among them the Institute of Smart Materials Structures and Systems of the Indian Institute of Science; the Indian Institute of Technology; the Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology, and Research Academy; the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics; and the University of Delhi, Pune, and Hyderabad. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, India’s premier R&D body, holds numerous nanotechnology related patents, including novel drug delivery systems, production of nanosized chemicals and high-temperature synthesis of nanosized titanium carbide. In the industrial sector, Nano Biotech Ltd. is doing research in nonotechnology for multiple diagnostic and therapeutic uses. Dabur Research Foundation is involved in developing nanoparticle delivery systems for nticancer drugts. Similarly, Panacea Biotec has made advances in novel controlled-release systems, including nanoparticle drug delivery for eye diseases, mucoadhesive nanoparticles, and transdermal drug delivery systems. Cranes Sci MEMS Lab, a privately funded research laboratory located at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the Indian Institute of Science, is the first privately funded MEMS institution of India; it carries out product-driven research and creates intellectual property rights in MEMS and related fields with an emphasis on social obligations and education.


Some R&D case studies

1. A number of transgenic bio-fertilizers producing organisms viz. Cyanobacteria, Rhizobium, Azotobacter and Phosphate Solubilizing bacteria were developed over the years for field commercial trials.

2. A few microbial pesticides were also developed through R&D, whose trials already made in the field.

3. A few plant pesticides also screened from Neem, Bel, Karanj etc. whose efficacy were also examined against pathogenic fungi or pests.

4. There has been significant emphasis on application of biotechnological tools for biodiversity conservation and characterization, restoration of degraded ecosystems, wastelands and mine spoil dumps.

5. The use of biotechnological R&D activities in industrial effluent treatment viz. dye industry, pulp and paper mills, distillery chemical process industry etc. or treatment of industrial emission containing SOx, NOx & Pyridine etc. were praiseworthy.

6. Biosensor bases environmental quality monitoring techniques were also developed slowly

7. Biotechnology helps substantially in ex-situ conservation practices of rare and endangered species.

8. It has also immense role in R&D of Biofuel and Bioenergy research. Bioethanol, Biodiesel, Biohydrogen production technology developed over the year’s research.


National Policies on Biotechnological application

Govt. of India has laid great emphasis on the application of biotechnology for societal development. Special programmes are being supported for socially disadvantaged sections of the population, women and rural peoples. Biotechnology based programmes for SC/ST populations have benefited around 50,000 people through implementation of various projects.

The programmes include cultivations of aromatic and medicinal plants, mushroom, spirulina, seaweeds, biological control of plant pests and diseases, vermiculture and vermicomposting, biofertilizers, aquaculture, floriculture, poultry farming as well as human health care interventions etc.

India was the first country in the world to establish in 1987 a distributed biotechnology information system (BTIS) networks. In this network, there are 10 distributed information centers (DICs) and 50 distributed information subcentre, (DISCs).

(DBT website:, BTIS net web: )


Potentiality of nanobiotechnology for environment clean up

The modern technological advancement had given rise to new breed of products and new pollutant. Detecting, detoxifying the pollutant and minimization of waste are the major target of environmental biotechnology. Environmental nanobiotechnology products (E nano product) are used to remediate both organic and inorganic pollutant effectively. E nano products like nanostructures magnetic materials, thin films, magnetic sensors, nanomaterials, and semiconductor materials can be used in specific field of environment.



Pollutant remediation

a) Nano size zeolite can able to remove hydrocarbon like toluene to benzaldehyde

b) Cell mineral interface is made up by nanoparticle of carbon which can be used as biofilm for bacterial remediation of oil and heavy metals.

c) Nanoparticles of protein can able to transform Cr6+ to Cr3+

More than 87% efficient compare to conventional bioremediation techniques


Pollutant generation minimization

The conventional cathode ray tube can be replaced by nontoxic carbon nanotubes

a) Mainly reduces the e waste generation

b) Reduces the heavy metals contamination


Pollutant detection

Nano protein based semiconductors can detect the pollutant at ppb level

Use to detect PAHs, heavy metals


Water Purification

Nanostructure like dendritic polymers remove Cu2+,Pb2+ and

Nanoscale magnetite (Fe3O4) remove carbon tetrachloride

Can be used in ultra filtration unit of water purifier