Biotechnology annual review, volume 1

Biotechnology annual review, volume 1

Biotechnology Advances, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 17%178, 1996 Copyright © 1996 Elsevier Science Inc. Printed in the USA. All rights reserved 0734-9750/96 $...

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Biotechnology Advances, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 17%178, 1996 Copyright © 1996 Elsevier Science Inc. Printed in the USA. All rights reserved 0734-9750/96 $32.00 + .00



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A POTPOURRI OF BIOTECHNOLOGY Biotechnology Annual Review, volume 1, edited by M. R. El-Gewely Elsevier, 1995, (xii + 484 pages) ISBN 0 444 81890 1 This book is the first in a new series entitled Biotechnology Annual Review. The stated scope made me wonder whether the editor and the publisher really did see a need in an area already well served by such eminent works as Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology and BiotechnologyAdvances. In times of shrinking budgets, libraries are likely to be selective, opting for titles that address clear needs. This premier volume contains thirteen disparate reviews contributed by 35 authors. Understandably, the quality is variable. While no single volume can possibly address all facets of biotechnology, this book does not represent the mix expected in an annual review. The book is strongly biased toward the biosciences; bioprocess technology is poorly represented. The longest chapter entitled "Biotechnology domain," is a pedantic perspective on the diverse applications of biotechnology. The chapter is poorly written and encumbered with needless illustrations. Pictures of grain fields, potatoes, a leech, packages of recombinant drugs, an ancient Egyptian fres,:o depicting beer making, and many more, serve little purpose. Among laboratory analytical methods, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and enzyme immunoassay are each devoted a chapter. Detection and analysis of nucleic acids using magnetic bead solid phase technology are reviewed. Gene inactivation by specific RNA cleavage by endogenous ribonuclease P is treated in depth. Prokaryotic promoters are reviewed with emphasis on those found in Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis. Phage display of peptides and proteins is reviewed with a focus on filamentous bacteriophages. The chapters on molecular structure of lipases and esterases, and encapsulation techniques to form artificial cells




are thorough. Production of recombinant human erythropoietin is treated, but the emphasis is overwhelmingly on the science. One must look elsewhere for a state-of-the art review of the production technology. Potential pharmaceutic use of aptamers or nucleic acid species that bind to proteins is discussed. Although promising and likely to be cost effective, much developmental work remains before aptamer therapy can be applied. As a topic of significant current interest, methods for identifying functional domains in protein sequences are reviewed. Making sense of the rapidly mounting knowledged base on protein sequences is linked to the developments described. The chapter on politics of biotechnology patents insightfully presents the many conflicting concerns, especially the divergent interests of the developing and the developed countries. Many chapters are well illustrated and the production quality of this hardbound volume, printed on acid-free paper, is generally excellent. An exception is the unhelpful index. Overall, the book offers nothing extraordinary. The richer institutional libraries may consider acquiring this book, but at US$ 265.75 I can recommend other more substantial and appealing titles. The individual researcher, engineer, teacher or student is unlikely to want one for the personal collection. Yusuf Chisti Department of ChemicalEngineering Universityof Waterloo Waterloo, Ontario Canada N2L 3G1