Mod-01 Lec-01 Fundamental of Biology & Biotechnology

Good morning students. Today I will be starting
a new course on biochemical engineering. The name itself indicates that it has got
a bio and chemical engineering. Now, if we see the definition; it is a branch of chemical
engineering or biological engineering that mainly deals with the design and construction
of most processes that involves the biological organism. Now, this is the course which will
be jointly taken by professor Saikat Chakraborty from chemical engineering department and me,
professor Rintu Banerjee from agricultural and food engineering engineering department. At the outset let me tell you the course content
of this particular subject. Now, if we see the subject biochemical engineering; we can
find that this subject includes basics of biology, overview of biotechnology, diversity
in microbial cells, cell constituents, chemicals for life. It also have that kinetics of enzyme
catalysis, immobilized enzymes, major metabolic pathways that mainly includes the bioenergetics
and different biosynthetic pathways, microbial growth kinetics, design analysis and stability
of bioreactors, kinetics of receptor ligand binding, receptor mediated endocytosis, regulation
of gene expression and different biological product synthesis in the living cell and the
strategy for their separation. So, we will also learn the recovery and bio
separation of the biological products. So, this is the total course content of this particular
course. Now, as I have already defined you this biochemical
engineering; it has got distinctly two part that is, the biological portion and the chemical
engineering. Now, if we see the total syllabus or if we define this particular subject as
it is a fusion of biology and chemical engineering where the principles and techniques of chemical
engineering are applied to enhance the product formation from the biological system or the
living system. In this particular course I will be mainly
concentrating towards the biology part. Now, as biology, biochemical engineering the
biology is the integral part I will be mainly covering the fundamentals of biology and biotechnology.
Now, here this particular knowledge, this topic will include the fundamental knowledge
of biology and then what is the difference between biology and biotechnology. I’ll
try to emphasis emphasize upon this particular thing. Then, we will gradually proceed to
the microbial world. As you know, cells are the basic unit of life, from cells tissues
are formed and from tissues different organs which perform different activities of the
living system. We will also learn that how cell functions
and what are the different characteristics of the cell along with the different structure
and function of the cell organelles. We will also concentrate on the macro molecules present
in the living cell which includes carbohydrate, lipid, protein, nuclic acid and so on. Enzymes
are the biocatalysts which are present in any living cell and they catalyze the different
biological function. We will also learn something on the enzymes. We will also study the bioenergetics
and different metabolic pathways which are playing a very important and significant role
in any living system. We’ll also learn the synthesis of different
biological product formation within the cell and what are the strategies which one can
adopt for maximum recovery of the yield and we will also study some of those strategies
along with few examples. Now, for this portion what I will be covering you can refer any
standard book say, that Lehninger principle of biochemistry by Nelson and Cox, you can
also study biochemistry by Stryer, microbiology by Pelczar, cell biology by Coen and Coen
D Robertis. So, these are some of the books which you can refer. Any standard book can
also be referred for these topics which I will be covering. Now, to start with I have told you that I
will be giving you the fundamentals of biology and biotechnology. Some ideas to start with,
let us start with biology. Biology is a Greek word which means bios is life and logos means
study. So, biology can be defined as that branch of science which deals with the study
of the living things. So, if we see obviously that terminology which
is coming to this picture is the living thing. So, how one can differentiate the living system
from the non living system? There are certain characteristics which are present in the living
system and are not present in the non living such as locomotion, growth, respiration, reproduction,
metabolism and so on. So these are the some activities which are performed by the living
system or living cell. Now, the other features of the living system
are; they have the high degree of chemical complexity and they are microscopic organization.
A living system can extract transformed and can use energy from the environment. It has
got the capacity for precise self replication and self assembly. Mechanism for sensing and
responding to the alteration to their surroundings is also one of the characteristics of life.
Defined functions for each of their component and regulated interactions among them are
also the activities of living system. If we see the life system, evolution is one of such
phenomena which is very common in the life system. Now, if we differentiate the living and non
living as I have already mentioned by having some of the characteristics which I have already
mentioned, we can easily differentiate the non living from the living system. Virus is
one of such particle which is controversial in nature. Now, if we see the virus says we
can find that, this virus behaves as a non living particle as long as it is outside of
the living cell. As soon as, it comes in contact with the living host cell it performs certain
activities through which the scientist they are compelled to think that yes, virus is
a living organism. But, it is true that virus is an obligatory, obligate intra cellular
parasite. For its normal behavior it needs host cell.
So if we see the living living cell, living system then cell is a basic unit of the living
system. If we classify the cells it can be broadly classified into two major groups;
one is called a prokaryotic cell, another is the eukaryotic cell. Prokaryotic cells
are the primitive or it does not have the well defined nucleus which is covered by the
nuclear membrane. That means pro means the primitive, karyon means nucleus. That means
it has got the the nucleus which is very primitive in nature. Where as in case of eukaryotes,
we can find that it is it has a well defined nucleus along with a nucleus membrane. And
this is called the true nucleus eu means true, karyotes means nucleus. So this way we can
differentiate prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Now, as I have already mentioned you that,
the evolution is one of the indication of life system. So, when all the micro organisms
were studied, it it has been classified into different kingdom. We take a five kingdom
classification is one of the most popular classification of the living organism where
it starts from monera which is the prokaryotic unicellular cells. Mainly it performs its
normal activity nutrition and other activities through absorption or it can photosynthesize.
It is either motile or non motile and mostly the reproduction is through asexual means.
Little bit developed species are called protists. Protists are the eukaryotic unicellular or
multicellular organism. It either take its food or nutrition through absorption or it
can ingest or it can photosynthesize if any such pigmentation is there. Its main reproduction
is either through sexual means or by asexual means. If we further classify this protest,
depending upon its development, this protist can be once again classified into fungi plant
and animal. If we see the fungal classification, we can
find that it is eukaryotic, multicellular organism. It can absorb, it is non motile
and mostly it performs its activity through sexual means. In case of plants, it is also
eukaryotic multicellular. But, in plant one particular organelle is present called chloroplast
and for which it is it can perform, it can synthesize its own food through photosynthesis
phenomena. It is mainly non motile and reproduction is sexual means. Then, coming to this animal
world we can divide it is the eukaryotic multicellular organism. It mainly ingest the food and it
is motile in nature and reproduction is through sexual means. Now, if we further go for this classification
of three developed eukaryotic species; fungi, plant and animal, we can further classify
this fungi into different groups like; ascomycetes, basidiomycetes and deuteromycetes.
So, depending upon its development this this fungi are further categorized into different
groups. The next is the plant kingdom. Now, when we
are coming to this plant kingdom these eukaryotic organisms can be divided into two groups based
on the nature of the flowering. Now one group is called cryptogamia or the non flowering
plant, another group is called the phanerogamia which is the flowering plant. Now, depending
upon the nature of the flowering pattern, it has been divided further into different
classes. Now, in some, this in in case of this flowering plant it is divided into three
major part; one is called monocotyledons, monocotyledons another is that dicotyledons
and another is the gymnosperm. Monocotyledons are those groups of plant which during germination,
it produce only the one cotyledons are coming from this embryo. And this is the parallel
venation plant and any type of grass, grasses belonging to this particular, belongs to this
particular group the parallel venation. Whereas in case of dicotyledons, it is the
two cotyledons are coming that means a pair of cotyledons are coming and depending upon
its arrangement it is further divided into polypetalae, gamopetalae and monochlamydeae.
Now, these are the sub classes of this particular flowering plant. The group of plants which
do not contain any seed coat are coming under the group called gymnospermae. Now, in most
of the cases it has been seen that that many of the students they do not understand the
meaning of the terminologies and that is the reason they do not feel interest on this particular
subject. So, I am trying to give you the meaning of
this groupism; how it has been classified so that you’ll understand the basics and
the evolution how these plants are evolved. Now, coming to the animal world; the animal
world has been divided into two major group depending upon the presence of back bone.
That is the spinal cord. The group of organism animals which are having this backbone are
called chordates. Those which which are without backbone are the non chordates. So, if we further classify this animal world
the non chordates can be further divided into several phylum like protozoa, porifera, coelenterate,
ctenophore, platyhelminthes, aschelminthes, annelid, arthropoda, mollusca’s and echinodermata.
So, some of the examples what in daily life we are coming across belonging to the without
backbone animals are amoeba, paramecium, sponges, coral, sea pens, jelly fish, flatworm, round
worm, pin worm, earth worm, cockroaches, snails, octopus, star fish, sea cucumber etc etc.
Those group of creature which do not possess the backbone. If we further classify the chordates, the
organism which are having the backbone, it can be further classified into different phylum;
Pisces or the fish are one of such group which are having backbone and it has got the fins
for swimming. It has got streamlined body and gills are present in this type of creature.
Now, if we see little developed animals which is called the amphibians. Amphibians can can
be there it either it can survive in water or in land. And it possess the lungs and it
has also got heart which is three chambered. Reptiles are those groups of creature which
are also having three chambered hearts. Their limbs are not highly modified. And coming to the little more evolved species
belongs to this phylum Aves. They have the, this Aves means it is birds. They have the
bones which are hollow in nature. It possess feather, it can fly and they have the four
chambered heart. Then the most developed species in this world are the mammals. The mammals
are the most evolved, they have the mammary gland, their limbs are highly modified and
they have the most developed brain and that is the reason why the mammals, the Homo sapiens
are considered to be the most developed species in this world, in this universe.
Now, once again the enter animal kingdom can be divided into two major groups depending
upon its nature, its certain character. Some group including the non chordates to up to
this reptile are called cold blooded animal and Aves and mammals are considered as the
warm blooded animals. Now, these are the certain classification what I wanted to give you to
to make you understand that how the living cells are developed and and now I will be
going for the transition phase of biology and biotechnology. How to define and how biological
activities are different from that of the biotechnological activities. If we see, I, we have already learnt about
the biology and we have learned that what is biology and how biological specimens are.
Now, what are the specimens which are coming under this living system? Now when we are
defining this biotechnology, it is the fusion of two terminologies one is the biology, another
is the technology. Now, biology is the, biotechnology is the technology based on biology especially
when used in agriculture, food, medicine, pharmaceutical, environment and any other
field. The united nation convention or biological diversity has come up with one of the most
important definition of biotechnology as it is the means where the technological application
that uses biological system that is the living organism or derivatives thereof to make or
modify the products or processes for specific use.
Biotechnology has been defined by many other ways; one of such definition is that it is
the application of scientific and engineering principles to the processing of materials
by biological agent to provide goods and services. It is the science of the future that will
attract interest of many people and will bring about a big revolution in the lives of people
and will show human how to live even comfortable life with lesser stress. So these are the definition of biotechnology.
Now, if we see the biotechnological activities we can find that most often these fields are
overlapping to each other. Now, any of the activities say for example, environment, food,
pharmaceuticals, industrial or agricultural biotechnology if we see that, we will find
that none of these disciplines are independent. They have certain connection with each other
for which we can tell that these fields are highly interdisciplinary in nature. Say for
example, plant biotechnology. This plant biotechnology has got direct connection with agriculture;
it has got direct connection with food, pharmaceuticals. Similarly, animal biotechnology has got direct
relation with agriculture. It has got direct relation with food, pharmaceutical, microbes,
plant. Microbial biotechnology has got the connection with agricultural, food, pharmaceuticals
and if we see, we can find that each of the disciplines are overlapping to each other. So, in other word what we can tell is that,
biotechnology is an interdisciplinary science where we are mostly concerned with a applied
aspect. That is with the living cell engineering studies are to be carried out. Thus biology
and biotechnology are interrelated with each other. But, at the same time they are different.
Now how they are different? Suppose, a person is working with some living system which has
got immense application in future, in prolong after development it has got, it may have
got immense application that particular work will not come under the activities of biotechnology.
Rather, it will be a bioscience work. Similarly, when a product or process is in the in the
transition phase from laboratory to pilot scale, pilot scale to commercial scale when
any such engineering aspect or scaling of studies are carried out for any product formation
or improvement of yield or improvement of productivity then only, we can consider that
type of activities as biotechnological activities. So, we cannot avoid the scientific development
or bioscience activities from the biotechnological work. Different disciplines which can actively
involve in such activities are microbiology, chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, molecular
biology, immunology, cell biology and so on. Any basic biological science subjects can
be considered as the basic subject of biotechnological activities. Similarly, the branches of engineering
which can be can given their very important participation are the process engineer, chemical
engineering and biochemical engineering disciplines. So, this is the branch of where the biologist
and engineer should go together to make a process or product economically viable. Now, if we classify this biotechnology; now
a day’s many of you have come across the terminologies like red biotechnology, green
biotechnology, white biotechnology and so on. So, what are those biotechnologies? Red
biotechnologies are the pharmaceuticals biotechnology or you can consider this this branch as the,
which has got direct connection with the health care activities. Green biotechnology is otherwise
known as plant biotechnology or agricultural biotechnology. Food biotechnology is also
a part of this type of biotechnological activities. White biotechnology is the industrial biotechnology.
Whatever may be the branches; whether it is white, green or red any scientist and engineers
they have the direct role on the product and process improvement and optimization. Thus, in a nutshell we can tell that whatever
may be the living system irrespective of the sources, whether it is the animal source,
whether it is a microbial source, that microbial sources may be also the bacterial source or
the fungal source it can be the plant source. Whatever may be the product formation, if
we are going for the biotechnological activities may be depending upon the nature of the living
system; we have we will have to study the product formation in a different way and it
can have direct application in a food sector, pharmaceutical environment and agriculture.
So, whatever may be the sources has got the direct applications to all those disciplines
which has got direct link with the mankind. Now, let us come one by one and I will give
you some example to make you understand that what is biotechnology, how a scientist can
contribute and what is the role of any engineer like you to take part in this process product
formation. Now, the examples, this plant biotechnology
are the insect protected plants, herbicide tolerant plant, disease resistant plant, improved
improved food and crop quality. Let me come one by one to each of these. Now,
when you’re talking about this insect protected plant what we are doing? We are introducing
a specific gene into the genetic makeup of a plant and that plants are able to continuously
produce the protein to protect them from the harmful insect bite. Say for example, b t
toxin. Now, b t toxin is one of the toxin which is
produced by the bacillus thuringiensis. It is a bacterial toxin protein. If we that gene
to any plant system, that plant will be continuously producing that particular protein and when
any insect will come and attack that plant because of the presence of that toxin inside
the plant that pest will die. So, this inbuilt protection offers the farmer an alternative
to the use of chemical pesticide. That means in built the toxins are there which when it
comes in contact with the pest, pests are taking care of automatically.
So obviously the farmer need not have to spray that chemical pesticide. What is actually
happening if chemical pesticide application is getting reduced? Due to the decreased uses
of the chemical pesticide, beneficial bacteria which are present can survive. In turn it
helps the harmful insect plant. It maintains or improves the crop yield. It reduces the
exposure of farmer to the chemical pesticide, soil can be protected, less exposure of good
ground water, water and chemical insecticide is also there and lower level of fungal toxin
sprayed by the insect damage. So, these are this is one of such example.
If we see the another example that is the herbicide tolerant plant.
Now, when we when we are talking about this herbicide tolerant plant; the farmers they
fight against weeds by tilling using herbicide or through a combination of these methods.
Tilling exposes the valuable topsoil to wind and water erosion and has serious long term
consequences for the environment. Environmentally conscious farmer try to reduce the tilling
and limit the use of chemical herbicides. What can be done if the the introduction of
gene to the plant that confer the tolerance to a specific herbicide can be done? A farmer
can apply this herbicide in judicious amount to control the weeds without destroying the
crop. This technology allows the grower to apply herbicide only when the presence of
weeds is required. A practice which is generally there is called the integrated pest management.
It may also result in the increased use of environmentally favorable herbicide and reduce
the use of tilling. Another approach is the disease resistant
plants. Plant diseases like which include the fungal and viral diseases can devastate
both the yield as well as the crop quality. To minimize the economic loss resulting from
the plant diseases, farmer often plant more than what they are expected to harvest. This
increases in both the ways; the cost, the fuel cost, water, fertilizer and everything
is getting increased. In addition, farmers use chemical insecticide to destroy pest such
as aphids which carry the viral diseases. Now, by introducing a small part of DNA from
the virus into the genetic makeup of the plant, the scientists are developing the crop that
have in built immunity to such type of viral diseases. This allows reduced dependence on
chemical input and improves both the productivity and crop quality. So, these are some of the techniques. Now,
what are the input food which is already available with us. By introducing a gene through the
genetic modification, beneficial changes has already been made in some of the crops which
include consistentantly high yielding oil palm, potatoes and tomatoes with a higher
content of solid making the plant more suitable for food processing. Tomatoes or squash and
potatoes with high level of nutrients such as vitamin A C and E are already available. Corn and soya beans containing high level
of essential amino acids, potatoes with higher level of essential amino acids, oil seed with
lower level of saturated fat, garlic cloves with more allicin which help in lowering the
cholesterol level. Strawberries with increased level of natural agents which are being studied
and it has got some positive effect which help in fighting against cancer. Slow ripening
of tomatoes, crop that can grow in very cold temperature and animal feed crops with improved
level of protein content are already been there in the market. Some work is already
being done. I will be talking to you now about another
area of biotechnology which is called food biotechnology. And genetically modified food
is one of such example of food biotechnology. Now, if we see the genetically modified food,
it is of course, a controversial topic as far as today’s world is concerned. It has
got ethical concern and if we see the genetically modified food, we can find that the exotic
species can also be explode explored. Now, suppose if, this type of attempt can be taken,
suppose mango is available in summer. Instead of getting it only in summer season, if we
can get, if we can develop some species of mango which can produce such mangoes throughout
the year and if such type of attempt can be done then how nice it will be. Those who are
liking mangoes I am just telling for example, it may be applicable for any type of any variety
of vegetable or fruits which are seasonal in nature.
Now, it may be also applicable for the exotic species to, now this is one aspect of genetically
modified food. Now, very recently that genetically engineer bringer brinjal has come to the market.
Now, I am not telling that yes whether it is good or bad. But, what I am telling, this
is one type of modifications which are there. Now, the scientist or the biochemical engineer
can also participate actively in the area of processing. Now, when the normal cereals
and pulses are getting processed; irrespective of its sources whether it is genetically modified
or not but, through biotechnological activities one can go for the better polishing technology
which may retain the more and more amount of nutrients. That means, nutrient quantity
retaining of the nutrient quantity in that cereals and pulses can be improved with the
modern processes, modern processing technology, biotechnological applications. Another area is the environment. Biotechnology
can also be applied equally to the environment. A number of microorganisms that have been
isolated, genetically isolated and genetically modified which have the capacity of bioremediation
of solid as well as liquid waste. Biodegradation, bioaccumulation, bioaugmentations are some
of the important strategical issues which are generally used for taking care of such
type of pollutants. Bioremediation is also carried out with the help of enzymes which
biodegrade and mineralize the pollutants of environment. Now these types of technologies are also applied
to the animal system too. Now when we’re talking about the tools in biotechnology,
then we can find that genetic engineering is one of such important tool which is playing
an active role as far as today’s biotechnology is concerned. Now, this particular tool can
be applied to any branches of the living cell; may be plant, may be animal or microbes. Through
this technique we can go for the better improvement of yield. This is one way of modification.
As I have already mention you in my earlier few slides, that when starting this lecture
I have already mentioned you that evolution is one of the indication of life.
Now, in any living system the improvement on evolution is naturally taking place. Now,
when such type of changes is taking place, sometimes the microbes which are present in
this universe are automatically getting mutated. And sometimes we are identifying some of those
important microorganisms which are present in our surroundings for better yield and those
microorganisms are called the hyperactive microorganism. By isolating that type of microorganism,
we can also go for the product process development. And whatever may be the activities which what
I am talking about are coming under the umbrella of biosciences. Now, when such type of developments
are going on in the laboratory these are coming under the banner of bioscience. Now, if we see the different biological or
technological products, it can be divided, it can be distinctly classified into two major
group; one is called the low value high volume product, another is the high value low volume
product. Now, here the low value high volume means, here the volume of this particular
product what we are manufacturing is in huge quantity. Let us take one example that ethanol
from lignocellulosics. It is the second generation biofuel. It has got huge demand as far as
today’s world is concerned. Now, what we will be doing with this ethanol?
We will be using this ethanol as the petroleum substitute. And when we are talking about
this ethanol then, we are handling the raw material which are lignocellulosics in nature
and these lignocellulosics what we are getting is a huge amount of lignocellulosics. And
from here, the ethanol which we are getting it is also high volume. Huge quantity of ethanol
we are producing but, its value is not that high, if we see another system which is the
high value and low volume. Now, in this system what we have seen that, it is the very costly
product and its volume is in a very, very small quantity. That means, this product is
produced in the living cell in a minute quantity but, its value is very high. Say for example,
taxol. Taxol is a secondary metabolite which is produced in a very, very low quantity.
And it is in the tune of microgram level and it is present in the plant cell and if we
want to go for the production of such type of product obviously our attempt will be of
what type? Then, what we are going handling we are adopting the process for handling a
huge quantity of biomass. So, this is the reason why these types of
information are very, very essential for all of you. For those who are studying engineering,
for them this information’s, why this biological information the information of cell and its
constituent is so much important. If you know, the behavior of the cell characteristics of
the cell it will be very easy for you to design a reactor. Now, say for example, if we are
taking a plant cell, if we are taking any microbial cell, if we are taking any animal
cell obviously the reactor design will not be same as plant cell has got cell wall, microbial
cell also has cell wall but, animal cell they do not have any cell wall. They have the cell
membrane. Obviously the reactor what we will be using for microbial culture will not be
the same for the plant cell culture; will not be the same for animal cell.
So, this type of information, then another information which is very, very important
is that what type of product we are producing? Is it intra cellular or extra cellular? So,
such type of information are very, very important and through this particular this information
the biological information what I will be giving I think you will you can enrich yourself
to understand the living system the living cell and its behavior.
So, with this I am concluding my today’s lecture in the nest class I will be talking
to you about a tiny particle which cannot be seen without microscope, in our naked eye.
So, that type of organisms coming to a particular group, of a it is it is a part of the prokaryotic
organism and I will be talking to you about that type of micro creature in my next class.
Thank you very much.