Biotechnology at BASF - BASF.com

mixedminerBiotechnology

Oct 22, 2013 (3 years and 1 month ago)

166 views

Biotechnology
at BASF
CONTENTS
4 Biotechnology
8 White biotechnology
12 Plant biotechnology
16 Questions and answers
18 Facts and figures
19 Glossary
WHITE BIOTECHNOLOGY
+
PLANT BIOTECHNOLOGY
=
BIOTECHNOLOGY AT BASF
White biotechnology uses micro-
organisms and enzymes to produce
chemical and biochemical products.
In plant biotechnology,plants are
developed for healthier nutrition,more
efficient agriculture,and for use as
renewable resources.
Biotechnology is a key technology of the
21
st
century and opens up new opportunities
in the fields of nutrition,agriculture,pharmacy
and cosmetics.
Why biotechnology,
Why do we need biotechnology?Because it helps us overcome the challenges of the future.Through plant
biotechnology we can help to achieve more efficient agriculture and healthier nutrition – both of which are very
important when you consider that the world’s population is growing continuously.This technology also allows us to
make better use of plants as renewable resources and to actively help protect our climate.Last but not least,we
can use plant biotechnology and white biotechnology to produce new and useful products with efficient use of
resources.
But why are there so many concerns and reservations about the technology?As with many new technolo-
gies,the scientific principles are very complex.So it’s very important that benefits are obvious,as it has also been
the case with biotechnology for medicinal uses.The benefits of plant biotechnology aren’t really tangible to the
individual yet.And this is why we want to go out and talk to people,to discuss their concerns,clarify unresolved
issues and better explain the significance and opportunities of this important technology for the future.
Why is BASF involved in biotechnology?Surely BASF can expect to be criticized for its involvement
in plant biotechnology in particular.We can see the huge benefits of the pioneering solutions that can only be
obtained with plant biotechnology.Skepticismis predominantly found in Europe;in other parts of the world plant
biotechnology is already common practice.For example,around 114 million hectares of genetically modified plants
were cultivated throughout the world in 2007.This represents close to the total amount of land used for agriculture
in Europe.Around 12 million farmers see the benefits of the technology and use genetically modified plants.
Also,if you look into the challenges of climate change,you will see that we need new solutions.The amount of
land available for agriculture is limited,and we need more and more food and animal feed as well as renewable
resources.Plant biotechnology will have a huge role to play here.One of our objectives is to develop plants with
increased yield of 20 percent or more on the same area of land.
Will consumers also benefit fromthe technology and not just companies?Of course consumers and the
environment will benefit too,otherwise our business wouldn’t be sustainable!One example of consumer benefits
is plants with an increased content of omega-3 fatty acids,which help to reduce the risk of cardio-vascular dis-
ease.One of the things that our research is focusing on is healthier nutrition.Plants that are more tolerant to certain
environmental conditions,like drought,guarantee harvests and make productive agriculture possible,even under
difficult climatic conditions.Another example is phytase in animal feed.Using this enzyme supplement reduces
phosphate pollution in our waterways fromanimal husbandry.
How will biotech develop in the future?Will biotechnology still be a hot potato in ten years?No,I don’t think
so.The best example of this is the red biotechnology in medicine.This technology has been accepted in this field
for a long time.And this is true despite the fact that 25 years ago there was a similar level of concerns and fears.
But people were convinced by the professional way in which the technology was used,and of course,its direct
benefits.I amoptimistic that the same will be true for plant biotechnology.Genetically enhanced plants are already
part of everyday life in many countries.The same will apply in Europe soon and people will benefit fromits advan-
tages.
Mr.Marcinowski?
Dr.Stefan Marcinowski,Member of the Board of Executive Directors at BASF SE.
Biotechnology

Biotechnology makes it possible to develop numerous innovative products and processes which could not be achieved
in any other way.Products which,thanks to biotechnology,offer clear benefits for people and the environment.


an opportunity for the new century
Biotechnology is a key technology of the 21
st
century.It opens up new opportunities in nutrition,
agriculture,pharmacy and cosmetics.
Biotechnology is a technology for the future,but some of the processes and procedures used in this field are
already very old.For example,human beings have been using yeast to start fermentation processes,for example
to produce beer,sourdough or yeast dough,for many millennia.Everyday products such as cheese,vinegar and
wine can only be produced with the aid of microorganisms.In very general terms,biotechnology is understood to
mean the use of microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria,or plants and enzymes,to manufacture products.
Modern methods.However,modern biotechnology doesn’t take place at home but in the laboratory.It is used to
manufacture products for agriculture,pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry,and animal feed,to name just a few
examples.Biotechnology can also help to conserve energy and raw materials in production.Genetic engineering is
a modern subspecialty of biotechnology.It addresses the specific transfer of certain genes in order to stimulate
fungi,bacteria,or plants to produce specific substances.
The colors of biotechnology.In biotechnology,there are three subareas which have been assigned with different
colors.“Green” biotechnology focusses on plants and their genetic modification.It is also named plant biotechnol-
ogy.“White” biotechnology,also named industrial biotechnology,focusses on making chemical or biochemical
products with the aid of enzymes and microorganisms.There is also “red” biotechnology,which focusses on
the manufacture of products for use in medicine.In this field bacteria,fungi,or cell cultures are used to produce
pharmaceutical products such as insulin.
Biotechnology at BASF.At BASF,research is conducted only in the areas of white biotechnology and plant
biotechnology.
In white biotechnology,we distinguish between two technological fields:fermentation and biocatalysis.These are
used,for example,to produce enzymes and chiral intermediates.
In plant biotechnology,the focus is on the development of crop plants.Researchers develop plants designed,for
example,to enable healthier nutrition via improved constituents,to improve efficiency in agriculture,or to be used
as renewable resources.BASF‘s activities in the field of plant biotechnology are consolidated in BASF Plant Science.
Good prospects for biotechnology.In both subareas of biotechnology,BASF’s goal is to be among the world‘s
leading companies within a few years.In order to achieve this objective we have greatly expanded our commercial
and scientific expertise in biotechnology.Every day,BASF scientists expand our knowledge of the world of genes
and proteins.
4
5
Biotechnology and the job market.As a pioneering technology,biotechnology not only secures existing jobs,
but also creates new ones.According to a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for System and Innovation Research
and the German Institute for Economic Research,at least 260,000 jobs are currently influenced directly by biotech-
nology.In addition,the study predicts clear development potential:by 2020 more people are expected to have a
job which is linked to biotechnology than in the entire chemical industry today.
Biotechnology – growth market
and source of employment
Researching in the Verbund.White biotechnology and plant biotechnology are two of five growth clusters at
BASF.These growth clusters are research areas,which are particularly promoted by the company because they
are expected to develop into attractive business areas with above-average growth potential.For research work in
the “White Biotechnology Growth Cluster”,160 million euros will be available from 2006 to 2008;in the “Plant Bio-
technology Growth Cluster” more than 400 million euros have been earmarked for research in the same period.At
BASF,new insights in biotechnology research are developed in an international research and technology network
(called “Verbund” in German) not only with internal experts,but also in more than 80 partnerships with universities,
research institutes,and biotechnology enterprises.
Gene —construction plan of life
Plants and animals are complex organisms.They have many characteristics which they can pass on to their
offsprings via genetic information.This genetic information (genome) determines what an organism looks like;
to a great extent,it also influences its behavior and controls its metabolic processes.The complete genome of a
living organism is located on filamentous molecules in each of its cells.These filaments,known as DNA (deoxyribo-
nucleic acid),are divided into separate segments.These segments are called genes and are responsible for the
different characteristics of a living organism.For example,there are genes which determine human eye color or
others which protect a plant against a specific disease.A bacterium has approximately 500 to 600 genes;human
beings have about 25,000;and a plant has approximately 50,000 genes.Even though different organisms have
different numbers of genes,the constituents are the same.Every gene,regardless of whether it is from a human
being or plant,consists of four different building blocks which are designated as A,C,G and T.The genes differ
in that these four building blocks are combined in different quantities and different sequences.So the genetic
information is a kind of language with four letters,which is written down in the form of DNA.Therefore a plant
cell understands the information from another plant.For example,genes from an alga can be integrated in a
canola plant.
i
6
7
 BASF’s activities on plant biotechnology are brought together in
BASF Plant Science – an international research and technology
platform.Around 700 people are currently employed in this area.
Plants like canola have around 50,000 genes,
which is twice as many as humans.
White biotechnology

The fungus Aspergillus niger (the photo is a picture taken using an electron microscope),for example,naturally
produces various enzymes,like phytase.Methods of genetic engineering have been used to modify the fungus
to allow it to produce a greater volume of the enzyme.Phytase is an additive for animal feed.

chemistry meets biology
White biotechnology—also known as industrial biotechnology—uses microorganisms and enzymes
to produce chemical and biochemical products.
Often,using new biotechnological methods and processes allows us to manufacture these products more
efficiently and with lower resource consumption than with conventional processes.BASF products produced using
biotechnology are used in human and animal nutrition as well as in the production of medicines and crop protec-
tion products.
Nature —the best laboratory
In white biotechnology we distinguish between two areas of technology:
Fermentation In fermentation,living microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria transform raw materials into
the desired products.In yogurt production,for example,lactic acid bacteria convert lactose to produce lactic acid.
Fermentative processes can be used to produce substances like vitamins (see information box on page 10) and
enzymes,with reduced resource consumption and in adequate quantities.
Biocatalysis In biocatalysis a single enzyme is used to catalyze a specific reaction step.The enzymes employed
generally originate from microorganisms.One of the ways that BASF uses biocatalysis is for the production of so-
called chiral intermediates,which are required for the production of pharmaceuticals and plant protection products.
Chirality means “handedness”.In nature there are many things which appear to be the same,but which behave
like an image or mirror image of each other – for example the left and right hands.The same phenomenon also
applies on a small scale at the molecular level.Two molecules which are mutually chiral have identical physical
properties,but in most cases different biological effects.For example,one of the chiral forms of the amino acid
asparagine is a sweetener,whereas the other tastes bitter.Another example can be found in citrus fruits:Oranges
and lemons only smell different because the scent molecules of the two fruits are mirror images of each other.
Nature —an immeasurable reservoir
Today it is assumed that only approximately one percent of all microorganisms have been cultured in the labora-
tory.These organisms,particularly the still unknown species,contain many enzymes which have not yet been
studied.Scientists assume that these enzymes,acting as biocatalysts,will make possible many new reactions
which are still unknown.This is why BASF is carrying out intensive research into new enzymes.
8
9
Less phosphate due to phytase (Natuphos™)  Phytase helps pigs and poultry make better use of feed
by releasing the bound up phosphorus and making it available to the animal.The excretion of phosphorus with the
manure will be decreased by about 30 percent.This substantially reduces the pollution of soil and waters.Phytase
is produced by fermentation with the aid of the fungus Aspergillus niger.
More vitamin B
2
for animals  Used in animal nutrition,this vitamin helps to keep the animals healthy and fit.
The fungus Ashbya gossypii has enzymes with which it can produce vitamin B
2
.BASF scientists have succeeded
in identifying the genes which are responsible for the production of the enzymes.Using these scientific results,it
was possible to significantly increase vitamin B
2
output.
How is vitamin B
2
produced?
For the production of vitamin B
2
,BASF uses a special sterile stirred tank reactor,called a fermenter.To produce
the vitamin,the fungus Ashbya gossypii is first added to the fermenter together with different nutrients,such as
plant oil,so that the fungus can grow.The fungus replicates under optimum temperature and ventilation to pro-
duce larger volumes of vitamin B
2
.BASF produces more than 1000 tons of the vitamin annually in this way.
i
White biotechnology – projects and products
Phytase has been used in animal nutrition for two decades.
It improves the way in which the feed is used and reduces the
excretion of phosphates.The enzyme,sold under the trade
name Natuphos
TM
,is currently one of the most important enzyme
products in animal nutrition and is used the world over.
One of the uses of chiral intermediates is as building block or aid
in the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients.BASF now
operates three production plants with a total annual capacity of more
than 4500 tons.
Chiral intermediates – ChiPros™  Chiral intermediates are primarily used in the manufacture of medication and
plant protectants.With the aid of enzymes,scientists can manufacture chiral amines,alcohols and acids.
Fungal protein for everyday life  The water-repellent protein hydrophobin is normally found in the skin of fungi.
There it is responsible for causing rain water to roll off the fungus.Biotechnologists at BASF isolated the gene which
is responsible for the production of hydrophobin and transferred it into the bacterium E.coli.As a result BASF is the
first company that can produce hydrophobin in industrial quantities.Possible applications – for example in cleaning
agents – are now being tested.
Lactic acid bacteria for body care  Probiotic lactic acid bacteria can be used in novel products for personal
and oral hygiene.The lactobacilli fight cariogenic bacteria,help to prevent body odor,and regenerate the protective
skin flora.
The fungal protein hydrophobin ensures that water also rolls
off glass surfaces better.BASF is the first company that can
produce hydrophobin in industrial quantities.This will allow
consumers to benefit fromthe special properties of this natu-
rally occurring substance in their everyday lives.
The Streptococcus mutans bacterium,which is responsible for causing
caries,stubbornly clings to the surface of teeth.Probiotic lactic acid
bacteria clump together these bacteria to formlarger units that are not
able to cause any further damage and are rinsed out of the mouth.
10
11
Plant biotechnology

Rice is sometimes used as a model plant in plant biotechnology.
Researchers discover which gene in a plant is responsible for which characteristic.


for a green future
Today,there are few fields of research where knowledge is acquired as rapidly as in plant biotechnology.
At BASF,research in plant biotechnology is brought together under BASF Plant Science.Here plants are
developed for healthier nutrition,more efficient agriculture,and for use as renewable resources.
Beyond plant breeding
People have been breeding plants from wild forms to meet their nutritional needs for more than 10,000 years.A
great deal has been achieved by means of traditional breeding methods.Nevertheless,even today,approximately
one third of the world‘s harvest is lost due to diseases,plant pests or weeds.In addition,there is a growing world
population which needs more food,which in turn increases the demand for animal feed for raising livestock.At
the same time,we are seeing an increasing demand for renewable resources.But there is virtually no space left
for arable land to expand.So,we face a great challenge in both securing large and high-quality yield and also
making agricultural production sustainable.Genetic engineering can contribute to this.
This is because,in contrast to conventional breeding,in genetic engineering individual genes which give crop
plants new traits can be transferred in a targeted manner.
Plant biotechnology at BASF
BASF Plant Science develops plants,which...
...make agriculture more efficient—for example crops that are more tolerant to drought or resistant to diseases.
...contribute to healthier nutrition —for example,by an optimized composition of their ingredients.
...can be used as renewable resources—for example potatoes with modified starch composition.
The next generation of plants
Plant biotechnology still offers vast untapped potential.So far only first-generation genetically modified crop plants
with improved agronomic traits such as insect resistance or herbicide tolerance have been commercially cultivated.
The plants of the next generation are already on their way to the market.For example,there are plans to cultivate
crop plants with elevated contents of oils,starches,or vitamins.Crops offering higher yields and better resistance
to difficult environmental conditions are also being developed.These plants should provide high-quality food and
animal feed or serve as sources of renewable resources.
12
13
Healthy fatty acids fromplants For better and healthier nutrition,scientists are developing plants with polyun-
saturated fatty acids,so-called omega-3 fatty acids,which help prevent cardiovascular diseases.BASF scientists
transfer the genes for omega-3 fatty acids from algae into other plants such as canola,so the fatty acids can be
produced by the plants themselves.This oil would then be used in foods such as yogurt or cheese.
A renewable resource —Amflora Thanks to plant biotechnology,we can make more effective use of plants
as renewable resources.One example is potatoes,which are used in the manufacture of starches for the paper,
textile and adhesive industries.In this case,scientists were able to increase the proportion of the desired starch
component in the potato up to nearly 100 percent.This improves the processing characteristics decisively.With
higher quality starches it is possible to optimize production processes.At the same time,the genetically improved
potato helps save energy and water.
Resistant to fungi In the case of the fungus-resistant potato,scientists have transferred genes from a Latin
American wild potato to a cultivated potato with the result that it is now resistant to late blight.This potato disease
results in annual crop losses of approximately 20 percent worldwide.
Plant biotechnology — projects and products
Omega-3 fatty acids positively improve health levels.Since the
human body cannot produce enough of these fatty acids itself,
it has to absorb themfromfood.BASF optimizes the genetic
makeup of oil plants like canola so they can produce the healthy
fatty acids themselves.
Potato starch is used in the manufacture of yarns,paper and
adhesives amongst other things.In the textile industry for example,
the yarn is coated with potato starch to make it stronger before
being woven into fabric.
Plants with increased yield Agricultural crop land and water are limited natural resources.However,because
the world‘s population is continuously increasing,the yield per unit area must be increased in order to produce suf-
ficient food and animal feed.Additionally,the demand for plants as renewable resources,for example for biofuels
or biopolymers,is increasing.It is therefore necessary to increase yield on available agricultural land and also to
make harvests more reliable.This is why BASF Plant Science has been carrying out research in plants which have
a higher yield and improved resistance,for example to drought,for a number of years.In addition,BASF has been
collaborating in this area with the plant biotechnology company Monsanto since March 2007.This collaboration
covers some of the most important crops worldwide:corn,soy,cotton and canola.
Plants with improved drought tolerance Certain plants,e.g.cactuses and mosses,are naturally able to sur-
vive in very hot and arid climatic zones.BASF is investigating the underlying mechanisms and strategies adopted
by these plants with the aim of using the insights thus gained to develop drought-resistant crops such as wheat,
corn and soy.Drought-tolerant plants also save water because less irrigation is required.
Facts and figures in plant biotechnology
Worldwide more than twelve million farmers cultivate genetically modified plants.Genetically modified soy,
corn,canola and cotton are especially widespread.Of the world’s 1.4 billion hectares of agricultural land,in
2007 genetically modified plants were grown on around 114 million hectares.The largest fraction of this is in
the United States,where genetically modified crops are grown on 57.7 million hectares.In South America,
Brazil exhibits the greatest increase with 30 percent.Genetically improved plants now grow on 15.5 million
hectares in this country.These plants are grown in eight EU countries,where Spain is the forerunner with a
cultivated area of more than 75,000 hectares.
i
14
15
BASF researchers have managed to develop a potato that
is resistant to late blight.This disease is caused by the
fungus Phytophthora infestans.The pathogen attacks the
haulmbut also the tubers of the potatoes.Infected tubers
rot very fast after being harvested.
To help increase the efficiency of agriculture,BASF is developing
crops like soy that deliver increased yields and are more resistant
to drought.
?
Can genetically modified plants or the food products made fromthemcause allergies?The process of
gene transfer uses single and well characterized genes.Compared to this,the human immune system is confront-
ed with thousands of new proteins,which were not previously a component of the European diet.In earlier times
this was due to eating newly introduced plants such as the potato,rice and corn,and more recently exotic fruits
such as the kiwi or papaya.In addition,this is one of the areas where the consumer stands to benefit directly from
genetic engineering.It is possible to eliminate existing allergens in food with the aid of genetic engineering.
Doesn‘t biotechnology contribute to further industrialization of agriculture?No.Because the plants
possess in-built adaptation mechanisms against drought,diseases,etc.,the amount of work required for the farm-
er to grow them,i.e.use of machinery,is less,not more.Small-scale farmers can cultivate plants of this kind just
as well as farmers with larger farms.And even for crop plants with improved ingredients there is no need for any
special or more complicated cultivation methods.
Can world famine be eliminated by means of biotechnology?There are many different causes of hunger
in developing countries:political factors,economic factors,the failure of harvests and insufficient agricultural pro-
ductivity in densely populated regions.In this context,it must be clearly stated that genetic engineering will not
solve all these problems.But:it is an important part of a much wider solution.This includes raising agricultural pro-
ductivity.Over the past several decades,considerable yield improvements have been achieved by conventional
breeding and crop protection methods.Further increases in productivity can hardly be expected without genetic
engineering.
Could genetically modified plants throw the ecosystemoff-balance?Basically,modern crop plants are
so strongly adapted to conditions in the field that they have hardly any chance of survival in the open countryside.
Nevertheless,the effects of genetically modified plants on the environment are investigated in detail before the
plants are approved for commercial cultivation —existing legislation requires very detailed analysis in this regard.
The latter is strictly monitored by German authorities (e.g.the Robert Koch Institute and the Federal Research
Center for Cultivated Plants).A genetically modified plant that does not pass these tests will never reach the
stage of commercial cultivation.
Questions
+
!
16
17
What is the risk if genetically modified plants cross-pollinate with wild plants?For certain crops,cross-
pollination is not an issue because,for example,the potato does not have any wild relatives in Europe.If – in the
case of other crop plants – a few cases of cross pollination with wild species do occur,it cannot be assumed that
the new characteristics will establish themselves in the wild plants.
What is the decisive advantage of genetically modified plants?Genetic engineering helps us to equip
plants with particular characteristics that would be very difficult to achieve using conventional breeding methods.
These characteristics might include improved constituents such as unsaturated fatty acids,or resistance to
drought,salt or cold.Resistance to disease can also be increased effectively using genetic engineering.Ultimately,
genetically modified plants can be used to produce high-quality substances very easily in the field.This saves
resources and cuts costs.
What happens if microorganisms modified by genetic engineering are released into the environment?
In fermentative processes,BASF uses only microorganisms of Biosafety Level 1 in closed systems.Micro-
organisms of Biosafety Level 1 do not represent any risk to people or the environment.
How big does BASF consider consumer demand for biotechnologically produced products to be?
Consumers will always buy products that provide them with new,additional benefits.And this is the case with
foods with a higher level of fatty acids,for example.We presume that the market for healthier food products will
grow significantly in the coming years.
Genetic engineering is a new scientific discipline.How can long-termrisks be assessed?Assessing
various risks is an extremely important part of the technology management that we have operated successfully
at BASF for decades.In research and development,we only work in areas where we are convinced that the
products we have developed are safe for people and the environment.
+
answers
Biotechnology helps us overcome the challenges of the future.
Biotechnology provides us with new opportunities in areas such as plant breeding,plant protection,fine chemicals
and performance chemicals.
Biotechnology helps to save resources and energy in manufacturing processes.
BASF is active in the fields of plant biotechnology and white biotechnology.
Plant biotechnology and white biotechnology are among BASF’s five growth clusters.
Patents:Approximately 500 active patents in the fields of plant biotechnology
and white biotechnology.
Sales (2007):Around 300 million Euros
(fromproducts produced partially or entirely using biotechnology)
Plant biotechnology:BASF’s activities in the field of plant biotechnology are consolidated
in BASF Plant Science GmbH.
Plant biotechnology subsidiaries:metanomics in Berlin,Germany
SunGene in Gatersleben,Germany
DNA LandMarks in Montreal,Canada
Crop Design in Ghent,Belgium
Plant Science Sweden,Sweden
BASF Plant Science LLC in North Carolina,USA
Ames in Iowa,USA
Cooperations in plant biotechnology:Over 30 cooperations worldwide with research institutes,
universities and biotechnology companies.
Cooperations in white biotechnology:More than 50 cooperations with universities around the world
(for example in Graz (Austria),Stuttgart (Germany),Manchester (England)
and Sydney (Australia)) and research institutes,and technology companies
like Verenium(USA) and BRAIN (Germany)
White biotechnology:BASF uses white biotechnology in the fields of Care Chemicals
and Intermediates,for example to produce enzymes
and chiral intermediates.
Research budgets for 2006-2008 Plant biotechnology:more than 400 million euros
White biotechnology:160 million euros
Additional information:www.basf.com/biotechnology
Facts and figures
18
19
Amino acids
Amino acids are organic acids with one or more
amino groups.Amino acids are the building
blocks of proteins.In total 20 amino acids are
used,mainly to formproteins.
Amylopectin,Amylose
Amylose and amylopectin are constituents of
potato starch.Amylopectin acts as a thicken-
ing agent;amylose,in contrast,is a gelling
agent.In some applications only amylopectin is
required;in others it is the opposite.Separating
the two requires large amounts of energy.
Ashbya gossypii
The Ashbya gossypii fungus is a microorgan-
ismthat produces vitamin B
2
in its metabolism.
This method of producing the vitamin is more
efficient than chemical synthesis.Genetic engi-
neering has further increased the performance
of Ashbya gossypii.
Biocatalysis
Biocatalysis uses enzymes to accelerate chem-
ical reactions.These reactions frequently occur
under mild conditions;this means in water and
at temperatures between 20 and 40 degrees
Celsius.Both isolated enzymes and entire cells
are used as so-called biocatalysts.
Biotechnology
Biotechnology is the targeted application of
microorganisms,plants,cell cultures or isolated
enzymes to produce chemical,agricultural and
pharmaceutical products.
Breeding
In classic breeding,the objective is to achieve
a desired trait through multiple rounds of cross-
ing and selecting plants.However the result is
dependent on chance.Modern biotechnology
can equip organisms with the specific traits in
a highly targeted way.
Catalyst
A catalyst is a substance which accelerates a
chemical reaction without being consumed in
the process.
ASF
Glossary
Chiral products
Many chemical substances for medicines or
crop protection products occur in two forms
that are mirror images of each other,as the
right hand is of the left hand.The “image”
and “mirror image” can have completely dif-
ferent effects:for example,one formof the
amino acid asparagine is used as a sweetness
enhancer,while the other is perceived as bitter.
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
DNA stores genetic information.It is a double-
stranded molecule that consists of sugar and
phosphoric acid esters with (nucleic) bases
attached to them.DNA can be found in the
nucleus of eukaryotic cells and in the cyto-
plasmof bacterial cells.
Enzymes
Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts,
enabling or accelerating biological processes
without undergoing any changes themselves.
The names of many enzymes end in “-ase”,
such as phytase.
Fermentation
In biotechnology,fermentation is the transfor-
mation of renewable resources,such as sugar
or plant oils,into valuable products,such as
vitamin B
2
,with the aid of bacteria,fungi or cell
cultures.
Fermenter
Container or apparatus for the performance of
biochemical reactions with microorganisms.
Fermenters are usually sealed containers made
of stainless steel in which microorganisms are
kept in nutrient solutions.
Gene
A specific segment on the DNA which provides
the cell with the information for the production
of a protein.
Genetic engineering
Genetic engineering is a discipline of biotech-
nology.Genes can be identified,studied,and
recombined in the laboratory using molecular
biological,chemical and physical methods.
Hydrophobin
Hydrophobin is a special protein that is formed
by fungi such as button mushrooms.This
protein is what makes water roll so well off the
cap.BASF is the first company in the world to
produce this protein in the laboratory with the
aid of genetically engineered bacteria.
Metabolism
One uses the termmetabolismto describe
all of the biochemical processes in an organ-
ism,e.g.the transformation of nutriments into
autologous proteins or blood sugar.Metabolic
processes occur in every living organism.
Plant biotechnology
Branch of biotechnology in which classical
breeding is optimized by using molecular bio-
logical and biochemical methods.It allows us
to develop plants for more efficient agriculture,
healthier nutrition and for use as renewable
resources.
Stress tolerance
Drought,cold,or saline soils prevent crops
fromgrowing optimally.These unfavorable
conditions are termed “stress”.Genetic engi-
neering can help make plants more tolerant
to this “stress”.
Vitamins
Organic compounds which cannot normally
be produced by highly developed organisms.
Since they play a role in metabolism,they
must be obtained fromfood.
White biotechnology
White biotechnology—also termed industrial
biotechnology—uses microorganisms and
enzymes to produce chemical products.There
are two areas of technology in white biotech-
nology:fermentation and biocatalysis.
Published by:
BASF SE
Communication BASF Group
67056 Ludwigshafen
Germany
Publications of the BASF Group
can be ordered:
by telephone +49 621 60-91827
by fax:+49 621 60-20162
on the Internet:corporate.basf.com/
mediaorders
ZOAC0812E