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CAB eBooks

Ebooks on agriculture and the applied life sciences from CAB International

CABI Book Chapter

Plants, biotechnology and agriculture.

Book cover for Plants, biotechnology and agriculture.


This book aims to provide readers with a modern perspective on plants both as biological organisms and useful resources for people to exploit. The early chapters cover plant evolution, genomics, metabolism, organization, development and responses to the environment. In each case, there is an emphasis on how biotechnology can be used to manipulate such processes for the benefit of humanity. The sco...


Chapter 12 (Page no: 260)

Future challenges for plant biotechnology.

This chapter looks at how plant biotechnology can help address some of the most important challenges now confronting humanity. These include food production, resource depletion, environmental degradation and climate change. It surveys some of the major traits involved in yield, quality and environmental response that will help to address these challenges. In particular, many staple crops in developing countries perform well below their maximum potential with much scope for yield improvement. Other crops are so deficient in certain nutrients that the improvement of nutritional quality is now a key objective for many breeders. This chapter also looks at several strategies aimed at the 'biofortification' of crops with nutrients such as vitamins, iron and essential oils and amino acids. Finally, two newer areas where biotechnology is playing a key role are biofuels and biopharming. This chapter surveys new crops that could provide 'second-generation' biofuels without affecting food production. Biopharming is the production of high-value molecules in transgenic plants. Some plant production systems under development and their 'biocontainment' to minimize the environmental risks of this technology are briefly examined.

Other chapters from this book

Chapter: 1 (Page no: 1) Plants and their exploitation by people. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 2 (Page no: 21) Photosynthesis and the evolution of plants. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 3 (Page no: 40) Plant molecular genetics and genomics. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 4 (Page no: 66) Plant metabolism. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 5 (Page no: 97) Plant organization and development. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 6 (Page no: 126) Plant responses to the environment. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 7 (Page no: 152) Domestication and the empirical exploitation of plants. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 8 (Page no: 172) The scientific manipulation of plants. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 9 (Page no: 194) Crop improvement in the 20th century. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 10 (Page no: 220) Plant biotechnologies in the 21st century. Author(s): Murphy, D.
Chapter: 11 (Page no: 244) Social context of plant biotechnologies. Author(s): Murphy, D.