Proteins are considered the essential macronutrient in the body. This is because they play crucial roles in forming and regulating body tissues and organs. Protein are also considered building blocks since human bodies require them for growth and repair.
While proteins are found naturally in plants and animal products such as milk and meat, they can be artificially made in other ways. Some ways proteins can be produced include; chemical synthesis, in vitro translation, and recombinant DNA technology. Keep reading to find out various techniques and applications of proteins production.
Techniques of Proteins Production
Protein production, also known as proteins synthesis, is a biotechnical process that involves generating a specific proteins by manipulating a gene expression. The specific protein is extracted, purified, and produced in large amounts for use. Various techniques used in the synthesis of proteins include;
Expression in a Living Cell
Protein expression in living cells refers to the process by which genetic information encoded in DNA is used to synthesize functional protein molecules directly. This process can also be called gene expression since it involves the expression of genetic information encoded in DNA into functional proteins. Furthermore, functional proteins perform various biological functions in the body. Gene expression helps in protein production by using the process of transcription and translation. Through this process, proteins are synthesized from DNA and RNA.
Recombinant DNA Technology
Recombinant DNA technology is a technique that involves using enzymes to separate the needed DNA segments. The isolation process also involves using various laboratory techniques, such as gel electrophoresis, further to separate the protein molecules by size. The recombinant DNA technology helps in protein production by creating new DNA sequences and expressing them into a new protein using a host cell.
Another technique for protein production is chemical synthesis. Chemical synthesis involves building a protein molecule from individual amino acids using chemical reactions. This method is commonly used to create short peptide chains rather than full-length proteins. It can generate modified amino acids that are not found in nature.
Proteins In Vitro Translation
The fourth technique that can be used in protein synthesis is in vitro translation. In vitro translation produces proteins in a controlled environment, such as a test tube, using cellular components such as amino acids. This technique can be beneficial for producing proteins that are difficult to produce through other techniques.
Transgenic Animal Technology
The last protein production technique is transgenic animal technology. This method involves introducing a foreign gene into an animal’s genome and altering the genome encoded in the animal’s system. This process aims to produce animals that are a source of essential animal proteins, such as insulin, and growth hormones, such as auxin.
Applications of Protein Production
Protein production has many applications across various industries, such as pharmaceuticals, food, and agriculture. Protein synthesis is also an integral part of research and industrial biotechnology. Below are some critical applications of protein production across various industries.
Proteins in Pharmaceutical Industry
Protein synthesis is a crucial step when it comes to the production of drugs. This is because it enables the production of therapeutic proteins for various diseases, such as cancer and autoimmune disorders.
These proteins are designed to mimic the function of naturally occurring proteins in the body, often deficient in patients with these diseases. Using protein production techniques, such as recombinant DNA technology and bioprocessing, has helped revolutionize the treatment of many diseases and improve patient outcomes.
It may seem untrue, but protein synthesis is also essential in the food industry. Protein production helps create new and improved food products with higher nutritional value, longer shelf life, and better taste.
Bioprocessing and fermentation techniques have also helped in the large-scale production of proteins such as enzymes and flavors. These proteins can then enhance the production process of various food products, such as cheese and baked goods, making them more efficient and cost-effective.
In the agricultural sector, protein synthesis plays a significant role in the growth and development of livestock and protects crops from pests and diseases. Protein-rich animal feed helps maintain the health and productivity of livestock. At the same time, legumes and other protein crops improve soil fertility and reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers.
Additionally, some proteins can be used as natural pesticides to protect crops from pests, reducing the use of harmful chemical pesticides. Protein production is vital to promoting sustainable agriculture and meeting the increasing demand for food worldwide.
Limitations of Current Protein Production Techniques
Protein production techniques have evolved significantly, enabling high-quality products for various applications. However, several limitations to these techniques still need to be addressed to optimize protein production and ensure sustainable practices.
One of the significant limitations of protein production techniques is the cost of resources and production. The production process is complex and requires significant resources, such as energy and water. The extraction and purification of the protein can be time-consuming and costly. As a result, protein-based products can be expensive, limiting their accessibility to some consumers. This cost limitation can also hinder the adoption of protein-based products by the food industry, where cost is a significant factor in product development.
Another limitation associated with protein production is the environmental impact of protein synthesis. Animal-based protein production has been associated with deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and water pollution, among other environmental concerns. As the demand for protein-based products increases, finding sustainable production methods that minimize environmental impact will be critical.
Protein production has changed the field of science with many applications, from producing animal feeds to making foods with high nutritional value. Techniques such as chemical synthesis, which extract proteins, help form modified amino acids, which have positively impacted cell productivity.
However, there are downsides to protein production that may lead to endangered species. An example is the release of greenhouse gases during protein synthesis. The primary greenhouse produced is carbon dioxide, the number one cause of global warming. Exposure to carbon dioxide is also harmful to humans as it may lead to symptoms such as dizziness, difficulty breathing, and high blood pressure. Therefore, it is necessary to find a sustainable way in which protein can be produced without causing any harm to the environment.