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Biotechnology in Switzerland and a Glance at Germany

  • A. Fiechter
Chapter
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Part of the Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology book series (ABE, volume 69)

Abstract

The roots of biotechnology go back to classic fermentation processes, which starting from spontaneous reactions were developed by simple means. The discovery of antibiotics made contamination-free bioprocess engineering indispensable, which led to a further step in technology development. On-line analytics and the use of computers were the basis of automation and the increase in quality. On both sides of the Atlantic, molecular biology emerged at the same time, which gave genetic engineering in medicine, agriculture, industry and environment new opportunities. The story of this new advanced technology in Switzerland, with a quick glance at Germany, is followed back to the post-war years. The growth of research and teaching and the foundation of the European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB) are dealt with. The promising phase of the 1960s and 1970s soon had to give way to a restrictive policy of insecurity and anxiousness, which, today, manifests itself in the rather insignificant contributions of many European countries to the new sciences of genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics, as well as in the resistance to the use of transgenic agricultural crops and their products in foods.

Keywords

Antibiotics Contamination-free mass culture Molecular biology Genetic engineering Computer application On-line analytics Process automation Transgenic plants Food from genetically modified crops Restrictive policy Ethical concerns 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Fiechter
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of BiotechnologyEidg. Technische Hochschule (ETHZ)ZurichSwitzerland

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