Colors of biotechnology

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The colors of biotechnology is a classification system used to organize the different subspecialities that comprise biotechnology.[1][2] There are approximately ten branches, with green, yellow, white and blue biotechnology the most significant.

Green biotechnology[edit]

Green biotechnology involves the creation of more fertile and resistant seeds, plants and resources by using specialized techniques.[3] It appeared with the exponential growth of global population and the concerns around it.[3] It is commonly considered as the next phase of green revolution, which can be seen as a platform to eradicate world hunger by using technologies which enable the production of more fertile and resistant, towards biotic and abiotic stress, plants and ensures application of environmentally friendly fertilizers and the use of biopesticides, it is mainly focused on the development of agriculture.[3]

Green biotechnology is controversial because of its applications in life, such as genetically modified organisms (enhanced organisms).[3] On the other hand, some of the uses of green biotechnology involve microorganisms to clean and reduce waste.[4]

Yellow biotechnology[edit]

'Yellow biotechnology', has been used to refer to the use of biotechnology in food production, for example in making wine, cheese, and beer by fermentation.[3] It has also been used to refer to biotechnology applied to insects. This includes biotechnology-based approaches for the control of harmful insects, the characterisation and utilisation of active ingredients or genes of insects for research or application in agriculture and medicine and various other approaches.[5]

White biotechnology[edit]

White biotechnology, also known as industrial biotechnology, is mostly based on the application of bio-catalysis in industrial processes.[3] It uses living cells from yeast, molds, bacteria, plants, and enzymes to synthesize products that are easily degradable, require less energy and create less waste.[6]

Blue biotechnology[edit]

Blue biotechnology is based on the exploitation of sea resources to create products and industrial applications.[3] This branch of biotechnology is the most used for the industries of refining and combustion principally on the production of bio-oils with photosynthetic micro-algae.[3][1]

Other colors[edit]

Red biotechnology is related to the medical and pharmaceutical industries, and health preservation.[3] This branch involves the production of vaccines and antibiotics, regenerative therapies, creation of artificial organs and new diagnostics of diseases.[3] As well as the development of hormones, stem cells, antibodies, siRNA and diagnostic tests.[3]

Gray biotechnology is dedicated to environmental applications, and focused on the maintenance of biodiversity and the remotion of pollutants.[3]

Brown biotechnology is related to the management of arid lands and deserts. One application is the creation of enhanced seeds that resist extreme environmental conditions of arid regions, which is related to the innovation, creation of agriculture techniques and management of resources.[3]

Gold biotechnology is related to bioinformatics, nanobiotechnology and computer science categories.[2]

Violet biotechnology is related to law, ethical and philosophical issues around biotechnology.[3]

Dark biotechnology is the color associated with bioterrorism or biological weapons and biowarfare which uses microorganisms, and toxins to cause diseases and death in humans, livestock and crops.[7][3]


  1. ^ a b Biotech: true colours. (2009). TCE: The Chemical Engineer, (816), 26-31.
  2. ^ a b Siam, R. (2009). Biotechnology Research and Development in Academia: providing the foundation for Egypt's Biotechnology spectrum of colors. Sixteenth Annual American University in Cairo Research Conference, American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt. BMC Proceedings, 31-5.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Kafarski, P. (2012). Rainbow Code of Biotechnology. CHEMIK. Wroclaw University. Retrieved from
  4. ^ Aldridge, S. (2009). The four colours of biotechnology: the biotechnology sector is occasionally described as a rainbow, with each sub sector having its own colour. But what do the different colours of biotechnology have to offer the pharmaceutical industry?. Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, (1). 12.
  5. ^ Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology, Volume 135 2013, Yellow Biotechnology I web:
  6. ^ Frazzetto, G. (2003). White biotechnology. 21/03/2017, de EMBOpress Sitio web:
  7. ^ Edgar J, D. (2004). The Colours of Biotechnology: Science, Development and Humankind. Electronic Journal of Biotechnology, (3), 01