ALVES, Karoline Frazão; DE ANDRADE, Suelin
I Undergraduate student in Bioprocess Engineering and Biotechnology at the Federal University UFPR Palotina campus;
II Undergraduate student in Bioprocess Engineering and Biotechnology at Federal University UFPR Palotina campus.
The article presents an overview of the economic impacts of biotechnology applications in Brazil. The work seeks to demonstrate how biotechnology could contribute or promote the economic development of the country. To this end, it will present the main aspects and opportunities in the areas prioritized by Brazil, being them human health, agricultural, industrial and environmental. This was done through bibliographic consultation for each aspect addressed and it was concluded that Brazil does present great biotechnological potential and its limitations are due, for example, to the large bureaucracy with respect to patents and dependence on imports.
KEY WORDS: biotechnology; economic impacts; priorities.
Biotechnology is a science that is increasingly gathering space today, having expanded especially due to the development of genetic engineering and knowledge regarding molecular biology, genome and microbiology (VIALTA, 2016). Biotechnology deals with biological systems or their derivatives to produce or modify processes and products for specific purposes (BRAZIL, 2007, p.6). Its applications are the most varied and, in Brazil, four sectoral areas have been prioritized for the development of biotechnology, being them, according to Decree No. 6,041, February 8, 2007:
a. Human Health;
c. Industrial and;
Among the objectives of the above-mentioned decree, it is worth highlighting the one to stimulate the national productive structure, increasing the innovation capacity of Brazilian companies. An important aspect for this reality is that according to Funari and Ferro (2005), biodiversity is considered a priority area for scientific research, since the genetic characteristics of an individual are unique and singular, allowing discoveries for new treatments of diseases, for example, and stimulate the economic growth of the country. In this case, according to Joly (2011), Brazil has a great advantage because in 2005 it was estimated that the country had about 10% of the biodiversity studied in the world, framing it as a country of great biotechnological potential.
In view of this, the scope of this work is to present the importance of biotechnology for the Brazilian economy, exposing the areas in which the country invests and the biotechnological potential of the country.
The work was carried out in a qualitative way and is of bibliographic nature. The research was carried out based on 4 main aspects: human, agricultural, industrial and environmental health.
In order to demonstrate the economic importance of biotechnology, some opportunities or limitations in each of the aspects mentioned in the introduction will be presented below: human, agricultural, industrial and environmental health.
In this area there is great development and there has been a significant increase in the formation of human resources and scientific production, however, another important aspect would be the impact of this (FREIRE; GOLGHER; CALLIL, 2014). According to Freire, Golcher and Callil (2014), a measure of the last aspect presented would be the patents, in which Brazil has not advanced so much. According to Biominas Brasil and PwC (2011), in relation to biotechnological patents, there is a strong advance, but not significant compared internationally. It is worth noting that in a mapping conducted by Brazil biotech map 2011, most of the activities of biotechnology companies (39.7% of 237), are in the area of human health. In the country, the main areas of activity are tissue culture, cell therapy, molecular diagnosis (FREIRE, 2014).
Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that there is a great concentration in the state of São Paulo, which is also the one that invests the most in R&D in Brazil, as can be visualized in the figure below which presents a comparison between the biotechnology companies of the Southeast and South (most representative states) and by state.
Figure 1 – Companies by region and state (only the most representative). Source: PwC and Biominas Brasil. The national biosciences industry: Paths to growth.
To get an idea of the importance of investment in the area of human health, according to an article published by the BioLatin American Conference in 2019, the Pharmaceutical Industry Union of the State of São Paulo (Sindusfarma) in the year 2017 reported that the biopharmaceutical industry and the biotechnology market were worth about US$18 billion.
Agriculture and livestock has a significant impact on Brazil’s gross domestic product (GDP), following in the opposite direction of the world trend where its participation in GDP is declining over time (BRUGNARO; BACHA, 2009). Biotechnology, in this aspect, appears initially in the use of genetically modified seeds and has been substantially modifying this area (SILVEIRA; BORGES; BUAINAIN, 2005). In 2017, according to data released by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the GDP showed an accumulated growth of 14.5% in agriculture and livestock. This may be related to what Brugnaro and Bacha (2009) pointed out based on the studies of Barros (1999) and Bonelli (2005). This growth is due to significant gains in productivity (BRUGNARO; BACHA, 2009).
In a related way, productivity has increased due to advances in modern biotechnology in the field of plant genetics (SILVEIRA; BORGES; BUAINAIN, 2005). In addition, other possible contributions of biotechnology to Brazil are:
I. deduction of production costs;
II. development of less aggressive practices to the environment and;
III. production of better quality food (SILVEIRA; BORGES; BUAINAIN, 2005).
Thus, the reduction of costs is provided by biotechnological studies, noting that productivity is not the only direct economic impact of the development of modern biotechnology. Also, an important aspect is the increase of efficiency in pest control administration (SILVEIRA; BORGES; BUAINAIN, 2005).
Industrial biotechnology uses microorganisms and biological materials, modified or not, as technology to produce goods and services in industrial processes. It usually seeks to replace non-renewable materials with renewable ones to save energy, reduce waste and environmental impact (RENDUELES; DÍAZ, 2014). For Bernardo Silva, former president of the Brazilian Association of Industrial Biotechnology (ABBI), “industrial biotechnology will be the main tool to achieve advanced bio-economy, being the next and most promising vector of development in the world.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), with the combination of new technological transformations, which allow the potentiation of a solution in several productive processes in different areas, it is estimated that a new productive revolution will emerge. Thus, it is expected that there will be positive impacts on the productivity of companies that develop this type of technology (IEDI, 2019).
In Brazil’s case, the expansion of industrial biotechnology is extremely favorable due to its environment with adequate climate, diversity and availability of land, enabling the generation of several different raw materials (EMBRAPA, 2017). There are even studies by the Brazilian Association of Industrial Biotechnology (ABBI) that forecast an increase of 53 million that could be injected into the Brazilian economy with greater production of biofuels and bioproducts.
According to Vichi, Mansor (2009) the three great future problems for society are: environment, energy and global economy. They are directly interconnected, especially when talking about the global energy matrix and the increased participation of renewable sources. And, according to Tolmasquim; Guerreiro; Gorini (2007) an increase in per capita income and its better distribution is expected which, adding to the per capita energy consumption justify the growth of national energy demand to 3.8% per year in 2030. This is a situation for which Brazil presents benefits in relation to other countries, since its energy matrix is about 46% renewable while the world average is 12%. And, according to MEE (2016), renewable sources present lower production costs.
Figure 2 – Comparison of the use of renewable and non-renewable sources in Brazil and the world. Source: Energy and Electric Matrix – MEE 2016.
Among the renewable technologies used by Brazil, there are two that stand out in the area of chemistry present in the transport sector:
● Ethanol: the most widely used biofuel in the world, derived from inputs and, in the case of Brazil, mainly from sugarcane. This product becomes the second most important energy source in the Brazilian energy matrix, with lower production costs and great potential for cost reduction according to the emergence of new raw material production techniques.
● Biodiesel: its production has grown worldwide and can be produced through animal fat, reuse of oil and oils produced by microalgae.
The use of biofuels enables a significant reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases, but causes doubts about the damage caused by land use, problems that allow biotechnology to act more as a means of solution (VICHI; MANSOR, 2009).
According to the aspects observed in this summary, it is remarkable that Brazil is a country with great international potential for biotechnological development. Studies on the four research areas prioritized in the country and its great biodiversity demonstrate this in a sufficiently efficient way. However, it is worth noting that one of the country’s major limitations concerns the large bureaucracy involved, for example, in patent registration. This makes the amount of innovations, research and emergence of new enterprises be restricted instead of encouraged.
SILVEIRA, J. M. F. J.; BORGES, I. C.; BUAINAIN, A. M. Biotecnologia e agricultura: da ciência e tecnologia aos impactos da inovação. São Paulo em Perspectiva, v. 19, n. 2, p. 101-114, 2005.
FREIRE, C. T.; GOLGHER, D.; CALLIL, V. Biotecnologia em saúde humana no Brasil: produção científica e pesquisa e desenvolvimento. Novos estudos CEBRAP, n. 98, p. 69-93, 2014.
BRUGNARO, R.; BACHA, C. J. C. Análise da participação da agropecuária no PIB do Brasil de 1986 a 2004. Estudos Econômicos (São Paulo), v. 39, n. 1, p. 127-159, 2009.
RENDUELES, M.; DÍAZ, M. (2014). “Biotecnología industrial”. Arbor, 190 (768): a155. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.3989/arbor.2014.768n4009. Accessed on: 14 nov. 2019.
IEDI, Programas De Suporte À Indústria 4.0: Experiências Internacionais. In: ALMEIDA, J. S.G; CAGNIN, R. F. A Indústria Do Futuro No Brasil E No Mundo. IEDI, 2019. cap. 4, p. 215 – 538. Available at:https://iedi.org.br/media/site/artigos/20190311_industria_do_futuro_no_brasil_e_no_mundo.pdf. Accessed on: 19 nov. 2019.
SCHOEMAKER, P. J. H; DAY, G. S. Strategic actions in the face of uncertainty. Revista Brasileira de Marketing, v. 17, n. 5, p. 700-729, 2018. Available at: http://www.revistabrasileiramarketing.org/ojs-2.2.4/index.php/remark/article/view/4178/2522. Accessed on: 11 nov. 2019.
EMBRAPA; Biotecnologia Industrial é ferramenta para chegar à bioeconomia. 1 ago. 2017. Available at: https://www.embrapa.br/busca-de-noticias/-/noticia/25638625/biotecnologia-industrial-e-ferramenta-para-chegar-a-bioeconomia. Accessed on: 20 nov. 2019.
TOLMASQUIM, M. T.; GUERREIRO, A; GORINI, R. Matriz energética brasileira: uma prospectiva. Novos estud. – CEBRAP, São Paulo, n. 79, p. 47-69, Nov. 2007. Available at: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0101-33002007000300003&lng=en&nrm=iso. Accessed on: 10 nov. 2019.
EPE, Matriz Energética e Elétrica. 2018. Available at: http://www.epe.gov.br/pt/abcdenergia/matriz-energetica-e-eletrica. Accessed on: 19 nov. 2019.
VICHI, F. M.; MANSOR, M. T. C. Energia, meio ambiente e economia: o Brasil no contexto mundial. Quím. Nova, São Paulo, v. 32, n. 3, p. 757-767, 2009. Available at: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0100-40422009000300019&lng=en&nrm=iso. Accessed on: 12 nov. 2019.
BRASIL. Decreto nº 6.041, de 8 de fevereiro de 2007. Institui a Política de Desenvolvimento da Biotecnologia, cria o Comitê Nacional de Biotecnologia e dá outras providências. Brasil: Presidência da Republica, . Available at: http://www.agricultura.gov.br/assuntos/sustentabilidade/tecnologia-agropecuaria/arquivos-de-legislacoes-de-tecnologias/decreto-no-6-041-de-8-de-fevereiro-de-2007.pdf/view. Accessed on: 12 nov. 2019.
Conselho de Informações Sobre Biotecnologia. O que é biotecnologia?. Available at: https://cib.org.br/faq/o-que-e-biotecnologia/. Accessed on: 10 nov. 2019.
MINISTÉRIO DA AGRICULTURA, PECUÁRIA E ABASTECIMENTO. Agropecuária Brasileira em Números. 2019. Available at: http://www.agricultura.gov.br/assuntos/politica-agricola/agropecuaria-brasileira-em-numeros. Accessed on: 11 nov. 2019.
BIOMINAS BRASIL. A indústria de Biociências Nacional: caminhos para o crescimento. Minas Gerais: Biominas Brasil, 2011. Available at: https://d335luupugsy2.cloudfront.net/cms/files/27831/1517571879A-Industria-de-Biociencias-Nacional.pdf Accessed on: 12 nov. 2019.
CEBRAP. Brazil Biotech Map 2011. Available at: https://cebrap.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Brazil-Biotec-Map-2011.pdf. Accessed on: 13 nov. 2019.
FREIRE, C. E. T. Biotecnologia no Brasil: uma atividade econômica baseada em empresa, academia e Estado, 2014. Pós-Graduação, Universidade de São Paulo. Available at: https://www.teses.usp.br/teses/disponiveis/8/8132/tde-14012015-180416/publico/2014_CarlosEduardoTorresFreire_VOrig.pdf. Accessed on: 13 nov. 2019.
Bio Latin America Conference. Brazilian Biotech Sector Overview. Available at: https://biolatinamerica.com/brazilian-biotech-sector-overview/. Accessed on:: 12 nov. 2019.
VARGAS, M. et al. Inovação na indústria química e biotecnológica em saúde: em busca de uma agenda virtuosa. Revista de Saúde Pública, v. 46, p. 37-41, 2012.
VILACA, M. M.; PALMA, A. Limites biológicos, biotecnociência e transumanismo: uma revolução em Saúde Pública?. Interface (Botucatu), Botucatu , v. 16, n. 43, p. 1025-1038, Dez. 2012 . Available at: http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1414-32832012000400013&lng=en&nrm=iso. Accessed on: 10 nov. 2019.
JOLY, Carlos A. et al . Diagnóstico da pesquisa em biodiversidade no Brasil. Rev. USP, São Paulo, n. 89, maio 2011 . Available at: http://rusp.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0103-99892011000200009&lng=pt&nrm=iso. Accessed on: 25 nov. 2019.
FUNARI, C. S.; FERRO, V. O. Uso ético da biodiversidade brasileira: necessidade e oportunidade. Rev Bras Farmacogn, v. 15, n. 2, p. 178-82, 2005. Available at: http://www.scielo.br/pdf/rbfar/v15n2/v15n2a18. Accessed on: 27 Nov. 2019.
IBGE. Ministério da Agricultura, Pecuária e Abastecimento. Agropecuária puxa o PIB de 2017. 2017. Available at: http://www.agricultura.gov.br/noticias/agropecuaria-puxa-o-pib-de-2017. Accessed on: 14 nov. 2019.