10 Chemicals Used in Biotechnology – Properties – Uses

Biotechnology is a technology that utilizes biological process and organism to create products that are beneficial to living being or environment. This kind of technology is developed in order to advance the production of certain products to be friendlier in nature. Moreover, it is also alternative way to produce safer chemicals as well as safer products compared to synthetic chemicals.

Biotechnology rely on some examples of organic compounds uses to produce a more nature-friendly reactions as well as enhance the outcome of a conventional process. In doing so, some chemicals derived from nature are utilized. Those chemicals belong to organic compound in biochemistry reaction and have several benefits in industry. Here are chemicals used in biotechnology.

  1. Citric Acid

General Properties

Citric acid is an organic compound that belongs to tricarboxylic acid class. The chemical formula for citric acid is C6H8O7. It is a natural compound found in citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, limes, and other fruits that possess high level of acid. Citrus acid from natural source is then crystallized to be used in biotechnology. As the name suggests, citrus acid has low Ph that indicates the chemical to have high level of acidity. A reaction to certain chemical can also create an electrolyte.


Despite belongs to acid, citric acid is more edible for living being especially since it is a naturally occurring chemicals. The dominant use of citric acid is to enhance food flavor as well as to preserve food to stay fresh. Citrc acid is the flavour in any orange-flavored products. Moreover, citric acid is an effective antioxidant as well. Preservation of certain foods use citric acid to help them stay longer. (Related to List of Food Preservatives).

  1. Acetyl CoA Carboxylase

General Properties

Another chemical that functions as malonyl coa substrate is a chemical derived from algae. The reaction that carries by BC involved in dependant carboxylation of biotin produces acetyl coa carboxylase. It comes with symbol ACACA for the alpha and ACACB for the beta version. It is also found in the chloroplast of some plants. Prokaryotes that make up this chemical has many subunit of ACCs.


The use of acetyl coa carboxylase is to regulate the fatty acids. Therefore, the chemical is beneficial in creating a fermented products form ones that contain this chemical. Experts conduct studies to find out if acetyl coa carboxylase is effective a a medication for diabetes, obesity, and produce an antibiotics for general use. The experts only test it on mice but seeing how effective it is for mice, may as well effective for humans as well. Also read Uses of Organic Chemistry in Medicine.

  1. Lactic Acid

General Properties

Some of the processed foods undergo fermentation. These products have improved nutrition as well as new taste and new form such as milk to yoghurt or cheese. The chemical responsible for it is lactic acid. Lactic acid was naturally occurring chemical but now scientist can also form the synthetic one. This chemical belongs to alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) group. The lactic acid has more acid and deprotonate easily than acetic acid. Furthermore, the chemical is hygroscopic and has high melting point.


Along with special bacterial agents, lactic acid is a fermented result of lactate products and is good for preservative. Foods fermented with lactic acid last longer and come in a more solid form. It is also used as flavor agent as the acid taste of it transforms the taste of a food. Sometimes it is coupled with lactobacillus to create a health drink that is good as curing agent and to maintain digestion system. Thus, lactic acid is a beneficial chemical used in biotechnology.

  1. Biopolymers

General Properties

Another biochemical developed to create a nature-friendly product is biopolymer. Biopolymer is a polymer derivated from living organism. Just like the conventional polymer, biopolymer also contains monomeric units that can form bigger structure. Unlike the synthetic counterpart, biopolymer is more well-refined, able to degrade in nature and may not suitable to create more stuffs compared to the synthetic one.


Biopolymer is useful to create degradable plastics. Instead of the insoluble polystyrene, biopolymers create plastic that is degradable under exposure of light or air. Moreover, biopolymer is also safer as food packaging as it does not have toxic substances like the typical plastic. In other words, biopolymer is a nature-friendly version of polymers.

  1. Methane

General Properties

Methane is a compound with chemical formula CH4. It is the simplest form of ethane and is naturally occurring on earth. Methane can be found in both below ground as well as under sea floor. When air pushes them out, it rises to atmosphere as atmospheric methane. It usually is colorless as well as odorless but is also one of examples of extremely flammable chemicals. The amount of methane on earth has increased significantly as there are more volcanic activities.


This naturally occurring chemical can replace fuel and energy source from fossil fuel. The methane is flammable and also odorless. When it gets enough pressure, it will produce flame that is as clear as those produced by fossil fuel. Methane is also beneficial as a source of electricity. With such functions, methane is a really promising chemical used in biotechnology. 

  1. L-Carnitine


L-carnitine is an organic compound found in animal tissue. The formation of l-carnitine consists of fermentation through chemical synthesis or renewable materials that are still raw. L-carnitine influence the metabolism of fat within the body. It also works in the synthesis of fat.


L-carnitine can work as food supplement for both human and animal. It will help the lipid metabolism and fat synthesis within a body. Thus, it will lessen the fat production in a body and encourage body’s growth instead by turning fat into energy. When fat is metabolized more, a formation of muscle will be easier.

Other Compound in Biotechnology

Here are more chemicals used in biotechnology:

  • Betacarotene
  • Petroleum
  • Tuberos Lactone
  • Vanillin

The utilization of natural chemicals into modern industry help to minimize the negative side effects coming from the use of synthetic chemicals. By using something that closer to nature, hopefully it will not damage the environment or harm living organisms. Indeed, there are 10 chemicals used in biotechnology. To know more about biochemistry, read Applications of Biochemistry in Daily Life.