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Agbaje wants FG, stakeholders to tap from $714b biotechnology contribution

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A professor of microbiology at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, Lateef Agbaje PhD, has called for concerted efforts by government and stakeholders towards helping Nigeria tap from the economic contribution of biotechnology to the world’s economy, estimated to hit $714.6b in 2021.

Agbaje said this, while delivering the 38th inaugural lecture of LAUTECH, titled ‘The next big thing is very small: The paradox of diminutive microbes and nanoparticles’. He said the sets of awesome properties exhibited by different nanomaterials are responsible for their wide applications in agriculture, medicine, engineering, environment, security and defence, renewable energy and consumer products.

“In US, at least two million workers have jobs related to nanotechnology, while the estimated cost of nano-based products was put at $2.6 trn in 2015.”

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Explaining the relevance of biotechnology to national development, Agbaje underscored the importance of exploitation of biological resources to render goods and services for mankind. “The technology, which can be categorised into old and modern biotechnologies, can be aptly explored for the overall development of the nation, as they have applications in different sectors; ranging from agriculture, medicine, industry, environment, aquatic resources, food and product development,” he said.

He stressed the versatilities of microbial resources in the biotechnology agenda of any nation, leading to the sub-discipline microbial biotechnology of which Agbaje is a specialist.

He stated that although microorganisms consist of the good and the bad ones; the pathogenic microbes causing diseases in plants and animals are less than one per cent of the hypothetical one trillion types of microorganisms that exist on earth.

“The contributions of microorganisms in terms of their product formation were estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars. For instance, the estimate of fermented products by microbes was put at $63.371b in 2020, which is about twice Nigeria’s budget for 2021. Several of these beneficial microbes, particularly probiotics are responsible for the production of local fermented foods and drinks, such as garri, lafun, ogi, nunu, iru, fufu and palm wine, among others.”

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Lateef AgbajeLAUTECH
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