Biotechnologies can be defined as:


It is a field of activity which consists in characterizing and using in various applications, molecules or living organisms showing particular and surprising properties. They are such that they present an undeniable interest in man;

Amazing properties!

There are many examples, here are some of the most significant: The enzymes are prodigious accelerators and are capable of increasing the rate of a reaction multimillion of times. 

They exist in varied numbers, acting in conditions consuming little energy and in a highly specific. They are so effective that they are sympathetically described as “greedy”! The transformation capacity of different substrates by microorganisms is already very widely used in agro- but this one has so vast, varied and non-polluting potentials that more and more processes have recourse with a view to sustainable development. 

So bacteria are used to remove nitrites and nitrates in water, fusariotoxins in silage silos or to make the production of paper or hemp fiber less polluting. Likewise, access to genetic information carried by Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), announces prospects immense in the field of health with, among other things, the production of innovative drugs or forensic science, as some TV series take it up.

Ancient and modern applications

There is therefore a “historic” biotechnology, used, without being known, since antiquity, characterized since and integrated into fields of activity (agro-food, environment, etc.) which are currently well defined (production of cheeses, winemaking, compost ..).

This is supplemented by “modern” biotechnology which is based on the scientific advances of these last decades like molecular biology which is starting to give technological applications in a wide variety of fields (gene therapy and the fight against genetic diseases).

Alcoholic, malolactic fermentations, lactic… found in the production of products agro-food like wine, bread, cheeses or others such as soil biofertilization, anaerobic digestion or the production of biofuels from third generation (high energy algae fuel).

The enzymes (proteases, lipases, etc.) used in detergents (look at the composition on the package!), detergents or to specifically produce drugs.

DNA fingerprints used in forensics or gene therapy that are starting to allow healing prospects for certain genetic diseases (cystic fibrosis, syndrome severe chronic immunodeficiency …) Biotechnology, by itself, becomes integrated, generally at research and development (R&D), in well-defined industrial sectors such as pharmaceuticals, agro-industries food, the environment, sustainable development, etc. 

Faced with this diversity, the European Community has developed a very “colorful” classification of biotechnologies:

A cross between fundamental and applied skills

The prefix “BIO” implies the study of the living world both upstream, in parallel and downstream of a process industrial or artisanal.

The term “TECHNOLOGIES” implies the development, improvement and use of methods and domain specific tools. Biotechnology therefore calls on skills (knowledge, know-how and interpersonal skills) that are found in very specific areas of biology such as microbiology, biochemistry, molecular biology and cellular. 

These are supplemented by technological and technical skills thus constituting an exciting field at the interface of fundamental knowledge and engineering sciences: require developing technological solutions drawing on the extraordinary potential of the living world and which can only develop from constant back and forth between the cognitive scientific fields and technological in a dynamic process of development.

The yellow biotechnology relate to all applications related to the protection of the environment and treatment or disposal of pollution.

The green biotechnologies include technologies using plants and their cells produce and process food, biomaterials and energy.

The blue biotechnologies develop products in relation to marine biodiversity health, cosmetics, aquaculture, food industry.

The white biotechnology include industrial applications, through the use of systems biological as an alternative to conventional chemical processes. The first uses are in the polymers, fuels, solvents, construction, textiles, and all sectors predominantly chemical products.

The red biotechnology affect the health field, in particular the pharmaceutical industry a large part of current research is based on biotechnology.

Physiology or medicine:

2010, RG EDWARDS, development of in-vitro fertilization 2007, MR CAPECCHI, Sir MJ EVANS, O. SMITHIES, specific modifications of some genes through the use of embryonic stem cells. 2006, AZ FIRE, CC MELLO, discovery of RNA interference by double stranded RNA


2008, O. SHIMOMURA, M.CHALFIE, RY TSIEN, developments of the Green Fluorescent Protein (= GFP)

The new STL series Physical and chemical sciences in laboratories (SPC) and biotechnologies are

also characterized by an integrated teaching of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Life Sciences (CBSV) which allows to install a culture based on a concrete and transdisciplinary approach, concerning living systems at different scales. This innovative teaching therefore aims to bring out the connections between three disciplinary fields, support for biotechnology and applied physics and chemistry.

The specialty Science and Technologies of Laboratory (STL) Biotechnologies 

favors the acquisition living knowledge and the acquisition of biotechnological skills allowing the student to build a specific scientific culture focused on the joint mastery of fundamental skills and technological.

It presents a specific teaching of biotechnologies. This is based on the fundamental disciplines which supply the field of modern biotechnology as well as equipment intended to acquire the major methodological references and basic know-how to favor critical development and logical thinking. 

This teaching is mainly based on structuring technological activities and contextualizing.