Our ancestors were the original biotechnologists.
Throughout history they sought new ways of growing and producing foods. Through trial and error they developed different crops, learned how to breed and domesticate a wide range of animals, and found new ways of processing raw foods by bread making, brewing and fermentation. For example: Cheese making
Cheese production uses a biological process of introducing an enzyme from rennet, found in calves' stomachs, into milk, which turns it into solid curds and liquid whey This remains the basis of cheese making today
- 2,000 BC: The Egyptians and Sumerians developed fermentation, bread making, brewing and cheese making, each using biological processes to make new products.
- 500 BC: Mediterranean people developed marinating to improve the flavour and texture of meats and fish. People across Europe mastered salting, used for curing and pickling foods.
- 300 BC: The Greeks developed grafting techniques, enabling them to plant orchards and groves to produce fruit on a larger scale.
Excerpted from Food for Our Future: Food And Biotechnology, revised edition published in 1997 by the Food and Drink Federation, London.