Societal and Ethical Issues in Industrial Biotechnology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientific

8 Citations (Scopus)
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In this chapter we aim to give an overview of the main societal and ethical issues that are currently voiced around industrial biotechnology. We will illustrate this with some recent cases, such as the development of synthetic artemisinin, synthetic vanillin and vegetable oil produced by engineered algae. We show that current societal and ethical issues in industrial biotechnology centre on the following five themes: sustainability, naturalness, innovation trajectories, risk management and economic justice. In each of these themes, clashing public opinions fuel the public debate on the acceptability of new industrial biotechnology. In some cases this has led to the failure of otherwise promising innovations. In the last part, we provide suggestions on how to deal with these ethical and societal aspects based on the approach of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainability and Life Cycle Assessment in Industrial Biotechnology
EditorsMagnus Fröhling, Michael Hiete
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-47066-1
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-47065-4
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameAdvances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology
ISSN (Print)0724-6145
ISSN (Electronic)1616-8542


  • Economic justice
  • Ethical and social issues
  • Naturalness
  • Responsible research and innovation
  • Sustainability


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