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Mr. M.N. Venkatesh

Nanobiotechnology is that branch of nanotechnology that deals with biological and biochemical applications or uses. Nanobiotechnology often studies existing elements of living organisms and nature to fabricate new nano-devices. . Generally, nanobiotechnology refers to the use of nanotechnology to further the goals of biotechnology.

The potential uses and benefits of nanotechnology are enormous. We are promised everything from the mundane things like better paints, self-cleaning windows to the bizarre tiny submarines that will glide through our veins destroying pathogens and parasites. Nano- systems in biology, the most complex and highly functional nano-scale materials and machines have been invented by nature. Proteins and nucleic acids, and other naturally occurring molecules (polymers) regulate and control biological systems with incredible precision. Ultra-strong or other clever materials are commonplace – from muscle glue, through spider’s silk, to water-repelling lotus leaves. Many nanotechnologists are in fact drawing inspiration from biology to device new materials and devices.

Some of the innovative challenges in the field of biology are:
1. New molecular imaging techniques
2. Quantitative analytical tools
3. Physical model of the cell as a machine
4. Better ex-vivo tests and improvement in current laboratory techniques and
5. Better drug delivery systems

New molecular imaging techniques are important to probe nano-scale physiological processes in human organs. Such a system would help to diagnose the disease at the early stages, and to understand the effects of therapies given to the patient.
Quantitative analytical tools help us to understand how cell functions are regulated at the molecular level. Such an understanding would help for advancement of cell biology and help to invent better medicines.

Physical model of cell as a machine is essential to understand how the components of cell work together to accomplish a task. Genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics combined with the power of nanobiotechnology, will thus help in understanding the disease in a way that was previously not possible. Eventually, it is expected that the disease will be targeted more effectively and precisely.

Ex-vivo tests and improvement in current laboratory techniques would allow for measurement with greater sensitivities and specificities. Apart from helping to achieve the above nanotechnology would play an important role in sustainability of agriculture, water, energy, materials, and clean environment. Nanotechnology will lead to dramatic changes in the use of natural resources, energy, and
water. Waste and pollution is expected to l be minimized. Moreover, new technologies will allow recovery and reuse of materials, energy, and water.

In environment protection, nano-science and engineering could significantly affect molecular understanding of nano-scale processes that take place in the environment; the generation and remediation of environmental problems through control of emissions; the development of new “green” technologies that minimize the production of undesirable by-products; and the remediation of existing waste sites and streams.

In energy, nanotechnology would significantly help in increasing the efficiency of converting solar energy into useful forms, to produce high efficiency fuel cells, including hydrogen storage in nano-tubes and significant changes in lighting technologies are expected in the next decade.

It is said that the Third world the next war would be fought over water. Global population is increasing while fresh water supplies are decreasing. The United Nations predicts that by the year 2025 that 48 countries will be short of fresh water accounting for 32% of the world’s population. Water purification and desalinization are some of the focus areas of preventative defense and environmental security since they can meet future water demands globally. Nanotechnology would have a major role to play in saving water and for the best of the available water resources. In agriculture, nanotechnology has the potential to contribute in producing molecularly engineered biodegradable chemicals for nourishing plants and protecting against insects, genetic improvement in animals and plants, delivery of genes and drugs to animals, and nano-array-based technologies for DNA testing to name a few.

Along with the promise of nanotechnology, a number of cautionary tales have emerged that deal with the technology itself and its potential to self-replicate and the shortcomings of our society and institutions to place proper controls on technological evolution. Many have expressed their distrust in the technology and have strongly advocated for total moratorium. However, what exactly this can mean to nanotechnology? Such an outright ban is not only unrealistic, but would prove to be counter productive. Nevertheless, one should accept that at this moment there is lack of adequate knowledge of probable environmental consequences of nanotechnology and, in general, about our inability to anticipate unintended consequences that may arise in future, and spill over effects associated with rapid technological change that may take place. With some real nanotechnology products already in the market, some urgent issues around the adequacy of our existing regulatory system to provide the necessary safeguards and early warnings need to be evaluated.

Scientists and engineers bring to their work a laudable concern for the social value of their labors. However, those working in a particular technical field may be focused on the immediate technical challenges and not see all of the potential social and ethical implications. Therefore, it is important to include a wide range of interests, values, and perspectives in the overall decision process that charts the future development of nanotechnology. The inclusion of social scientists scholars, such as philosophers, ethicists, in the social process of setting visions for nanotechnology is an important step for the advancement this potential technology. Their input may help maximize the societal benefits of the technology while reducing the possibility of debilitating public controversies.

Development of nanotechnology will depend upon multidisciplinary teams of highly trained people with backgrounds in biology, medicine, applied and computational mathematics, physics, chemistry, and in electrical, chemical, and mechanical engineering.

Despite the tremendous educational challenges, the exciting intellectual, economic, and social opportunities of nanotechnology might become a major factor in reinvigorating any nation’s youth for careers in science and technology.
The FBAE is a strong supporter of innovative technologies like nanobiotechnology for the economic development of the nation and other developign countries. FBAE supports a comprehensive technology assessment of nano-biotechnologies along with a full-blown risk/benefit analysis before their adoption. FBAE strongly supports efforts to educate, and increase awareness about nano-biotechnology through a transparent public dialogue. FBAE does not support any effort to stifle technology development through unnecessary regulatory barriers.