Some leading food bioprocessing technologies are dairy processing, alcohol and beverage processing. Production of alcoholic beverages include: wine, beer, whiskey, rum, shake, etc. utilizing microorganisms like Clostridium acetobutylicum, Lecuonostoc mesenteroides, Aspergillus oryzae, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Rizopus sp., Mucor sp., etc. Biotechnologically produced organic acids like citric acid, acetic acid, gluconic acid, D-Lactic acid, fumaric acid, etc. also have very high market value.
The application of biochemistry can result in (a) new ways of producing existing products with the use of new inputs, and (b) new ways of producing new products. Examples of the former include the production of gasoline from ethanol which in turn is produced from sugar; the production of insulin using recombinant DNA technology; the production of hepatitis B vaccine using recombinant DNA technology and the extraction of copper using mineral leaching bacteria. The alternative inputs are oil for gasoline, porcine pancreases for insulin, human blood for hepatitis vaccine, and the conventional mining techniques for copper. Examples of the latter include possible medicinal substances which are produced in minute quantity in the human body and which cannot be synthesized such as insulin, interleukin or Tissue Plasminogen Activator (TPA).
A wide variety of microorganisms are now being employed as tools in biochemistry to produce useful products or services. Raw materials can be converted to useful finished products both by ordinary chemical processes and by biological means. Generally, the costs of chemical conversion are quite high as the reactions require high temperature or pressure. In contrast, biological alternatives, using microbes or cultured animal or plant cells, operate at physiologically normal conditions of temperature, pressure, pH etc. During the next few decades biochemistry would have overtaken chemical technology, and many such chemicals which are today produced chemically would be made through biochemistry.
Enzyme technology is a quarter of sizeable current concentration and expansion. Today, enzyme technologies have four distinct areas of application: in cosmetics, therapy, the food and feed industry, and for diagnostic purposes. One very important recent application is the production of foodstuffs from non-traditional raw materials: for instance, the development of the sweetener, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), also called isoglucose. Another recent application is the use of phytase in animal feed.
Nowadays, interest in the traditional fermentation technology for food processing has greatly increased because of emphasis placed upon plant materials as human foods. Single-cell protein (SCP) is term generally accepted to mean the microbial cells (algae, bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi) grown and harvested for animal or human food. During World War II, when there were shortages in proteins and vitamins in the diet, the Germans produced yeasts and a mold (Geotrichum candidum) in some quantity for food. Research on SCP has been stimulated by a concern over the eventual food crisis or food shortages that will occur if the world's population is not controlled. Many scientists believe