Raise a frothy mug to Biotech in Babylon

Let’s return to the first ideas and events that laid the foundations of biotechnology.

The ancient Babylonians were some of the first pioneers to use biotechnology for economic growth.  They harnessed the power of microorganisms, such as yeast, to develop the fermentation process used to turn grain into beer.  The fermentation process was discovered by complete accident thousands of years before but, nonetheless, this process revolutionized the world of gastronomy.  The newfound biotechnology practice of fermentation brought about the ability to make cheese, yogurt, bread, and wine.  The Babylonians were among the first to use these biological processes to increase their Gross Domestic Product.  The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic reveals that they were known for exporting 20 different types of beers throughout Upper and Lower Egypt.

In the following post, we will explore in more detail the structure and function of microorganism to cultivate biotechnology products of the ancient world and the modern innovations being developed presently.

George, Andrew R., trans. & edit. (2003). The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic: Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts. England: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-814922-0.