In South Africa agriculture is a key contributor to the national economy. It contributes around 2.4% to GDP, is a key exporting industry and is critical for local food security. Biotechnology works with living organisms and its derivatives to produce products and investigate processes for higher production yields. It also explores biological crop and plant management, for example in pest control. Biotechnology is also increasing as a career field in the management of invasive alien plants.
Biotechnologists can work with farmers, agricultural scientists and engineers and pest management officers in finding the best products for crop growth or plant disease, for example. They mainly work in laboratories, wearing protective clothing as they work with dangerous chemicals and biological specimens.
Biotechnologists must have a solid knowledge of biology and its associated laboratory techniques and an understanding of chemical properties. They will further benefit from:
Design, implement and monitor research experiments
Collect, study and test cell, tissue, bacteria and living organism samples
Analyse findings and identify practical applications and potential risks
Record and disseminate results in reports and presentations
B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Biotechnology at SU, UJ, UKZN, UP and UWC
B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Microbiology at all universities
Diploma, Advanced Diploma, M.Tech in Biotechnology at CPUT, DUT, TUT, UJ and VUT
Agricultural and crop production companies.
Biotechnology and genetic engineering organisations.
Pharmaceutical and chemical companies.