the use of living organisms or other biological systems in the manufacture of drugs or other products or for environmental management, as in waste recycling: includes the use of bioreactors in manufacturing, microorganisms to degrade oil slicks or organic waste, genetically engineered bacteria to produce human hormones, and monoclonal antibodies to identify antigens.

Origin of biotechnology

First recorded in 1940–45; bio- + technology
Related formsbi·o·tech·ni·cal [bahy-oh-tek-ni-kuh l] /ˌbaɪ oʊˈtɛk nɪ kəl/, bi·o·tech·no·log·i·cal [bahy-oh-tek-nl-oj-i-kuh l] /ˌbaɪ oʊˌtɛk nlˈɒdʒ ɪ kəl/, adjectivebi·o·tech·no·log·i·cal·ly, adverbbi·o·tech·nol·o·gist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for biotechnology

Contemporary Examples of biotechnology

  • There have been two so far this year, including a biotechnology firm raising about $8 million.

    The Daily Beast logo
    America’s Start-Up Silver Lining

    Daniel Gross

    October 30, 2013

  • She went on to get a Ph.D. in biotechnology from Cambridge in 2001.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Rebel With a Cause

    Abigail Pesta

    October 21, 2011

  • Now they have their gaze fixed on biotechnology and videogames.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The G-20's New Balance of Power

    Joel Kotkin

    June 25, 2010

  • But other scientists counter that basic skills in microbiology and biotechnology can get you a bioweapon.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Coming Bioattack

    Stephan Talty

    June 5, 2009

Historical Examples of biotechnology

British Dictionary definitions for biotechnology



(in industry) the technique of using microorganisms, such as bacteria, to perform chemical processing, such as waste recycling, or to produce other materials, such as beer and wine, cheese, antibiotics, and (using genetic engineering) hormones, vaccines, etc
another name for ergonomics
Derived Formsbiotechnological (ˌbaɪəʊˌtɛknəˈlɒdʒɪkəl), adjectivebiotechnologically, adverbbiotechnologist, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for biotechnology

also bio-technology, 1947, "use of machinery in relation to human needs;" 1972 in sense of "use of biological processes in industrial production," from bio- + technology.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for biotechnology




The use of microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeasts, or biological substances, such as enzymes, to perform specific industrial or manufacturing processes. Applications include production of certain drugs, synthetic hormones, and bulk foodstuffs.
The application of the principles of engineering and technology to the life sciences.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for biotechnology



The use of a living organism to solve an engineering problem or perform an industrial task. Using bacteria that feed on hydrocarbons to clean up an oil spill is one example of biotechnology.
The use of biological substances or techniques to engineer or manufacture a product or substance, as when cells that produce antibodies are cloned in order to study their effects on cancer cells. See more at genetic engineering.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.