David Zilberman and Eunice Kim
University of California, Berkeley

The modern bio-economy consists of biotechnology, green chemistry, and modern biofuels, and can learn from the experience of the “traditional” bio-economy that relied on processes such as fermentation to alcoholic drinks, foods, and medicine. The traditional bio-economy expanded the range of locations that humans could survive and what they could grow. Lessons of the traditional biotechnology are likely to apply to the modern one. The new bio-economy will require moving outside of our comfort zone and may require us to take calculated risks, but within a technological framework we can control and mitigate these risks. The evolution of the new biotechnology will encounter resistance, but its potential is so vast that it is likely to prevail.

Key words: Agricultural biotechnology, bio-economy, biofuel, fermentation, GMO.