New developments in agricultural and industrial plant biotechnology are quite noteworthy and deserve special mention in this chapter.
In the agricultural sector, we have witnessed the advent of no tillage farming; significant increases in the use of organic farming practices, including a decrease in the use of toxic insecticides and herbicides; a quantum leap forward in the spread of farmers’ markets and sale of locally grown food crops and products; an increase in the use of seeds of heirloom cultivars of crop plants; an increase in crop species diversity; an increase in the use of genetically modified food plants in America; a slowly emerging trend toward urban agriculture; and increasing use of hydroponic production systems to grow crops year-round in greenhouses.
In the industrial sector, we observe the advent of many new industrial-type products that are derived from plants. These include biodegradable plant-derived plastics, paints and varnishes, adhesives, auto biofuels, de-icers, cleaners, vegetable oils, essential oils, industrial solvents, pharmaceutical and industrial proteins; soy-based inks; soy-based spray foam insulation; soy-based carpet backing and padding; and soy-based wood-like composites used for floors, paneling, and table/countertops.
In this chapter, we present selected examples from each of these topics.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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