Traits that protect the crop yielding potentiality will always be vital. Advanced technologies are being used to design products for insect control such as dsRNA which generate new modes of action. Research efforts mainly focused on enhancing complex traits like biotic stress mitigation and intrinsic yield potential which are all aimed at increasing crop yield (Koskell and Stotzky, 1997).
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Problems that Technology Addresses
Agricultural technology has been introduced to solve the imminent problems faced in the agriculture sector: time, expenses, food safety and labelling, environmental impact, land transformation, nutrient concentration.
Technology is meant to address shortcomings in the agricultural sector. Time wastage in animal and crop production is partly contributed by the use of traditional methods to carry out the activities. The introduction of technology is handy in such instances so as to save valuable time (Tapp and Stotzky, 1998). Thus, the population increase has brought the necessity to increase agricultural production and throughout the past fifty years numerous successful “agricultural development policies” were implemented which saved time and led to growth in corps yield, but has also led to “remarkable growth in global consumption of pesticides, inorganic fertilizers, animal feedstuffs, and tractors and other machinery” (Filho, 2004, p.62). Of course, nowadays sustainable agriculture is aimed at achieving the same time shortage in crops production with less negative impacts and fewer expenses.
Expense is also a key factor when it comes to agricultural productions. Technology has been employed to ensure minimalistic expenses within the sector (Reddy and Thomas, 1996). Thus, modern agricultural technology strives to a shortage in the use of machinery (and fuel use), and other expensive techniques. In fact, it is extremely important especially when it deals with developing countries with a large population where there is no opportunity to implement costly technologies in agriculture.
Food Safety and Labeling
Food produced from animals and crops should be safe for human consumption. Technology has been harnessed to curb such problems as food poisoning or simply unhealthy foodstuffs (Gebhard and Smalla, 1998). This issue is quite disputable now since agricultural technologies may lead to some long-term impacts on human health or the environment which are insufficiently researched. Thus, people should be aware of the techniques used during the production of goods they buy.
The main objective of agricultural technology is the introduction of some measures for the necessary environmental protection (Green and Allison, 1994). It’s anticipated to mitigate external expenses. These expenses consist of the cost of first and foremost pesticides. The second expense is too much water usage whereas the last expense is the nutrient runoff and varied other tribulations. Norman Borlaug has become one of the main figures who developed innovative agricultural techniques. These new methods have improved the agricultural sector (Stachel and Zambryski, 1989).
Numerous studies regarding livestock matters have been conducted. They have revealed that livestock is one of the main contributors to the present main environmental degradation. It is one of the producers of greenhouse gases leading to acidic rains which are disastrous to the environment. Agricultural technology has been initiated to solve these problems and make improvements on biodiversity (Doerfler and Schubbert, 1998).
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Land Transformation and Degradation
A description for both land transformation and land degradation exist. These two terms imply the action of making use of land with the sole purpose of producing goods and even services. The processes of land transformation and land degradation are viewed as how people adjust the Globe’s ecology. These processes have contributed to the significant loss of biodiversity. Agricultural technology has been developed to mitigate these problems (Green and Allison, 1994).
A substantial number of nutrients in aquatic ecosystems leads to loss of biodiversity and makes the water unsafe for drinking and inappropriate for industrial use. This is one of the main issues which agricultural technology needs to solve. Admittedly, such a negative impact is now leading to various problems in the ocean, and in terms of the lack of water appropriate for drinking in many countries, it requires much attention. Fortunately, sustainable agriculture technology is aimed at diminishing these negative effects and many pieces of research are now being implemented in this respect.
The Basic Biological Principles used in the Development of the Technology
Admittedly, agricultural technology is closely connected and based on basic biological principles. Such major principles as inheritance, variety, evolution, competition and survival are always taken into account and used in agricultural technology (Blinks, 2009, p.27). It is necessary to add that these principles are used for all levels, biological systems, including people, “higher plants and animals, one-celled protozoa, bacteria, and algae” (Blinks, 2009, p.26).
Thus, inheritance is taken into account while creating new breeds. People have noticed that plants can inherit some particular traces many thousands of years ago. However, the development of genetics opens up new horizons for this principle implementation in agriculture.
One of the major principles used in agricultural technology is the principle of variety. Thus, people understand that various species exist. This principle is closely connected with such phenomena as mutation and productivity. Long ago people have noticed that such biodiversity exists due to the organisms’ ability to change some features. Modern people already know how to cause and use such mutations which are widely used in new species creation. One of the essential phenomena characterizing all organisms in the world is productivity. Of course, this phenomenon is excessively used in agricultural technology.
Evolution has become one of the major discoveries of the 19th century. Of course, it is interrelated with the principle of inheritance. Thus, scientists take into account this principle since it is essential for understanding such principle as survival. This revolutionary invention made people use the possibility of organisms to accommodate new conditions in agriculture. This knowledge enables people to cultivate new lands and breed new species.
One of the very important biological principles used in agricultural technology is the principle of competition. It becomes one of the essential knowledge areas in corps production since scientists understand that it is necessary to create competitive species which will be able to survive and reveal high productivity.
Thus, the development of agricultural technology should be interrelated with the development of biological study which can bring discoveries to use in agriculture.
Scope of Use of the Technology
Biotechnology to some extent is similar to biomedical research. However, most other industries take advantage of using biotech methods to study. In addition, they may use it to clone and alter genes. In the modern world, many individuals have acclimatized to the notion of enzymes. Furthermore, several individuals are used to the debates regarding the usage of the so called Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) found within the foodstuffs in that area. The agricultural industry has been at the forefront of the raging discussion regarding Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The agricultural sector has yielded an assortment of novel goods. These goods are believed to enhance the lifestyles of people all over the world (Reddy and Thomas, 1996).
Vaccines are heavily implemented to overcome various illnesses spread in many underdeveloped countries. Genetically modified crops are created to take away antigenic proteins from highly infectious pathogens (Borja, et al. 1999). An example of this is the anti-lymphoma vaccine made of tobacco plants. Such vaccine is effectively used for cancer patients to support these patients’ immune systems (Hawkinson et al., 1998).
The conventional technique of manufacturing antibiotics is quite costly. The agricultural biotechnology regarding flower production is responsible for first and foremost combating diseases that attack flowers. Second, it is responsible for augmenting or making better the superiority of food. It is also important to note that a number of aesthetic applications are made use of during the production of flowers making use of gene identification and transmission techniques with the main aim of making better first the smell, second, the color, third, the size of flowers and last, other aspects concerning flowers. The improvements also enhance cold resistance in tropical plants so that they can perform in northern regions (Hill, 1994).
The biofuels industry greatly depends on the agricultural industry. The biofuels industry produces feedstocks. The feedstocks are used in the refining of first, bio-oil, second, bioethanol and last, biodiesel. Genetic engineering together with enzyme optimization techniques has been used. These have been used in producing better quality feedstocks to obtain more efficient conversion.
Plant and Animal Breeding
Several techniques which are responsible for making better plant and animal characteristics are available. However, some of these techniques do take a lot of time for them to bring about the desired effect. Examples of these techniques include grafting, cross-pollination, crossbreeding. However, biotech techniques have been invented and have substituted the aforementioned techniques for making better plant and animal characteristics. The biotech techniques permit precise variations to be obtained at a much rapid rate. The biotech techniques first and foremost involve the over-expression of genes within a meticulous species. Second, they involve the deletion of genes in a particular species. Last, biotech techniques entail introducing fully foreign genes.
Pest Resistant Crops
This has been aimed at eliminating the need to dust crops as has been the case in the past. This has helped farmers avoid costly infestations. Pesticide-resistant crops do exist. These crops may be defined as those crops which in particular are invented to resist pesticides attack. As a result, they permit growers/farmers to eliminate those weeds that encircle the flowers by killing them. While doing this, the farmer doesn’t injure the plants. For instance, the Roundup-Ready technique saves time and costs associated with pest reduction in plants (Wintermantel and Schoelz, 1996).
The nutritional supplement may be defined as scientific attempts to improve individuals’ health (especially in the third world countries in Africa and Asia). The main objective of scientists is to assist in disease outbreak lessening and undernourishment. One of the successful inventions in this field is the creation of golden rice. The golden rice has beta-carotene which generates vitamin A inside the human body (Saxena, et al., 1999).
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Abiotic Stress Resistance
Abiotic Stress Resistance Crops have been modified recently. The significance of this modification lies in the improved crop’s resistance. Such crops also endure various negative conditions. These negative conditions include “salinity, drought and cold” (Kling, 1996, p.180). As far as drought tolerance is concerned some plant species have been obtained by “regulating the transcription process” (David, et al, 2010, p.84).
Disadvantages of the Technology
Society has become dependent on technology since the industrial revolution (Lorenz and Wackernagel, 1994). However, technology has some negative impacts.
Genetic engineers successfully transfer genes from one organism to the other (Harding, 1996). However, this process is associated with a number of threats. Thus, such a process may interrupt the normal performance of other genes which can be vital for the organism wellbeing or even existence (Bergelson, 1998, p.25).
Furthermore, the process is associated with side effects. This side effect is that genetic engineers don’t comprehend the so-called living systems fully. As a result, genetic engineers can’t conduct DNA surgeries avoiding mutations. These mutations are cable of creating severe damages to the environment. Moreover, such mutations may negatively affect the health of human beings (Mikkelson et al., 1996). As genetic engineers transfer genes from one organism to the other, they may be unaware of the consequences which may be associated with this process. This is partially caused by the fact that most genetic engineers do not use the necessary know-how while experimenting. This often results in a rise of harmful toxins.
Widespread Crop Failure
Genetics engineers do anticipate raking in profits. This is especially when massive crop failure is evident. This comes as a result of patenting genetically engineered seeds. The seeds are anticipated to have identical genetic structures. This however only happens once they mature into full crops (Kidwell, 1993). If the planted seeds are raided by first and foremost fungus, second, virus or any other pest, the outcome is that the seeds will not mature into plants. Therefore, widespread crop failure will result (Robinson, 1996).
No Long-term Safety Testing
Admittedly, genetic engineering utilizes materials from organisms that aren’t parts of a human being food provision. The aim of such utilizing is to change the nature of the food which is consumed by humans. These actions are likely to lead to serious negative impacts on humans (Wostemayer et al., 1997).
Genetic engineers usually utilize the so-called antibiotic resistance genes. These genetic engineers fall into the category of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. They use these genes in staining genetically engineered seeds (, 1999). The outcome is that genetically engineered plants have genes. These genes are responsible for offering opposition to antibiotics. Moreover, the genes have a higher probability of being singled out by bacteria. The main undesirable consequence of this is that the health of human beings may be impacted negatively (Coghlan, 1999). The situation is worsened by difficulty in such dangerous elements consumed by humans who are deprived of seeing the corresponding data on the products’ labels. (Eady, et al., 1995).
Genetically modified plants will lead to excessive use of great amounts of pesticides which is extremely harmful to the environment and human health (Charles, 1998).
The ecosystem might be damaged
The harms associated with genetically modified goods cannot be gainsaid. These goods/products are likely to sway the food chain. The outcome is that the ecosystem may be impacted negatively (Metz, 1997).
Gene contamination may not be erased
If first and foremost, genetically engineered organisms, second, genetically engineered bacteria and last, genetically engineered viruses are introduced into the atmosphere, an undesirable consequence may occur. The consequence is that it is impossible to recall them. These undesirable consequences cannot be reversed in the long run (Field and Solie, 2007).
In conclusion, it is possible to say that modern agricultural technology development which is based on the major biological principles enable scientists to cope with the crucial issues addressed to agricultural technology: time, expenses, and environmental problems. Thus, many successful techniques are now implemented in various fields such as biofuel production, plants breeding, pest resistance, nutrient supplement, and abiotic stress resistance. Nevertheless, further research is necessary for the development of agricultural technology since there are any negative impacts to be diminished: lack of safety testing, crops failures and negative environmental impacts. Thus, it is possible to point out that agricultural technology development is now one of the major objectives for many countries which try to cope with such problems that humanity already faces as the lack of nutrition supplements and environmental problems.
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