Synthetic biology is an umbrella term for a range of modular of technologies that use modular tools. It focuses on designing, redesigning and building organisms or parts of organisms. In terms of its contribution to society, synthetic biology can provide solutions to the challenges we are facing in our agriculture and as a result of food requirements. RIKILT closely monitors developments and assesses all aspects related to food security.
More species of plants
Technological developments and research over recent years have provided more insights into how biological systems function. As a result, genetic modifications to plant species can be performed more quickly and more precisely, enabling us to increase diversity within and between species and strengthen plants’ resistance to drought conditions, infestations or infections caused by moulds, bacteria or viruses.
Improved efficiency and sustainability of food production
Synthetic biology can also help to improve the efficiency and sustainability of food production by identifying new ways of producing nutritional supplements, such as proteins, fragrances or flavouring agents, or boosting the efficiency of existing production systems. New techniques could also be developed to improve the production, shelf life and quality of food products.
RIKILT assesses aspects related to food security
RIKILT is playing its part in ensuring that these types of products are introduced responsibly. For instance, we contribute to regulations and research and closely monitor the latest developments and applications in the field of synthetic biology. We also use our knowledge and expertise to aspects related to food security. We collaborate with other divisions at WUR and the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) to examine how these developments have an impact on health, the environment, safety, and society as a whole.