The hunt is on for undiscovered bio-organisms that can be genetically modified for the purpose of manufacturing industrially useful products. Bioprospecting in deserts, arctic tundra and empty swatches of ocean has become a sport for big business, reports The Economist (Sea of Dreams). The nascent industrial biotechnology is banking on a microbiological revolution to build better amino-acid supplements, vitamin supplements, antibiotics, anti-influenza drugs, foundation creams for cosmetics and even the solid rocket-fuel that is used in air-to-air missiles.
Many people… see industrial biotechnology as the wave of the future—a phenomenon that will eventually rock entire economies. Whether this is the case or not, in the shorter term it does seem likely that industrial biotechnology will shake up the chemical industry. And it may provide a route to a future less dependent on fossil fuels, and one that puts less climate-changing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.