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Agricultural Biotechnology for Health and the Environment

  • Sven Ove HanssonEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Sustainable Development and Biodiversity book series (SDEB, volume 4)

Abstract

Due to the social circumstances surrounding agricultural biotechnology, its potential to help achieving environmental improvement and more healthy foodstuffs has not been actualized. With respect to health, biotechnology can improve the micronutrient contents of staple food. It can provide crops with a more balanced amino acid composition and a more healthy fatty acid composition. Toxic and allergenic substances can be removed, and energy density can be reduced in order to lessen the risk of obesity and diabetes. With respect to the environment, cultivars can be developed that require less tilling, thereby bringing down soil erosion and nitrogen leakage. More drought tolerant cultivars will decrease the need for irrigation that is a major cause of environmental problems. Plants with improved nitrogen efficiency will diminish the use of fertilizers, and pesticide resistant crops the use of pesticides. Although by no means a panacea, genetic technology facilitates breeding and widens the scope of what it can achieve, not least in terms of more healthy products and a more environmentally friendly production.

Keywords

Agricultural biotechnology Genetic modification Recombinant DNA Agricultural ethics Food ethics 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Royal Institute of Technology and Swedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden

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