The demand for Biotechnology is increasing especially in India. Today, India is among the top twelve countries in the world in terms of the size of the Biotech sector, and the Biotech industry in India is expected to grow at a rate of 22% year-to-year. Today the Biotech sector in India comprises more than 600 core Biotech companies, 2600 start-ups, and 50 BIRAC-supported incubators. The Indian Biotech industry today is valued at $64 billion and is expected to reach $150 by 2024-25. Therefore, students opting for Biotechnology as their UG or PG program would have more job offers in the future, and those students who would like to pursue research in Biotechnology as their career would have more opportunities due to the constant support by the Indian Government. There are several applications of Biotechnology which are beneficial for human and society. Here we are going to discuss the food spoilage problem in India and how biotechnological invention can help to reduce spoilage and increase the efficiency of the Food Technology companies.
The population is increasing day by day which will result in a further increase in demand for food. A large percentage of food is lost due to bacteria-mediated plant diseases. Prevention or treatment of these could thus be a solution to partly meet the increasing demand for food in the future. Postharvest losses are another reason for food loss by bacterial spoilage. Bacteria can contaminate and spoil food products at different stages before consumption and in many cases bacteria forms biofilms, a type of microbial community, which is hard to remove even by various antimicrobial agents. Application of bacteriophages as biopesticides, food preservative, or biotherapeutic agents is a valid and logically alternative to antibiotics to combat various bacterial diseases. Bacteriophage or phage is a virus that infects and kills bacteria. Lytic phages (that kills bacteria) are possibly one of the most harmless (for human) antibacterial approaches available which can be used as a food preservative. Phage therapy is found effective as both preharvest and postharvest interventions to control a wide range of foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp., Listeria spp., Escherichia spp., etc.
The majority of the studies demonstrated that phage therapy has the potential to become the main approach in reducing the foodborne pathogens in the food-producing animals and also in fresh and processed food. The increasing demand for products which include raw milk, fish meat, vegetables, and fruits, has an impact on the increasing demand for rapid and safe methods of pathogen elimination from food. Bacteriophage preparations are one of the most prominent innovative answers to eliminate bacteria from food products that will not affect the taste, smell, texture, and appearance of the “preserved food product”. Phage can act in various ways in the food industry, it can reduce foodborne pathogen levels in animals and consequently control the pathogen load on entry at the slaughterhouses, or phage can act as biocontrol of pathogens in foods which seem to be a promising alternative to traditional food safety and preservation measures. However, there are still many quarries that have to be resolved such as phage-bacteria interactions, the efficacy of the phage treatment, and the phage resistance issues. Phage treatment may also increase food price which may not be welcomed by the producers and consumers. Above all consumer must be aware of the concept and advantages of a phage-based biocontrol approach.
Students after completion of their 10+2 studies can opt for B.Sc in Biotechnology or B.Tech in Biotechnology as both the programs have Food Technology as one of the major papers. Also, science stream students after completion of their bachelor’s degree can opt for M.Sc in Biotechnology where they can choose Food Technology as specialization. At Adamas University, Kolkata, the School of Life Science & Biotechnology offers B.Sc Biotechnology (Hons.), B.Tech Biotechnology, and M.Sc Biotechnology programs and students interested in Food Technology can select any of these courses as all these programs have Food Technology as one of an integral part of the course structure. The demand for the Food Technology course is increasing in India as more and more companies are venturing into the food sector. Life today has become fast and everyone is busy, and therefore, no time to cook food at home. For this reason, the demand for pre-cooked or semi-cooked food is increasing in India and also increasing the requirement for better food preservatives. Only through Biotechnological invention, we can get a new type of preservatives which would be harmless and keep the food fresh for a long time.
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