The Biden Administration has put out a new report, "Bold Goals for US Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing," this month.
In the report, there are five goals listed for the U.S. bioeconomy, as an example:
- Climate: In 20 years, demonstrate and deploy cost-effective and sustainable routes to convert bio-based feedstocks into recyclable-by-design polymers that can displace more than 90% of today’s plastics and other commercial polymers at scale.
- Food and Agriculture: By 2030, reduce methane emissions from agriculture, including by increasing biogas capture and utilization from manure management systems, reducing methane from ruminant livestock, and reducing methane emissions from food waste in landfills, to support the US goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and the global goal of reducing methane emissions by 30%.
- Supply Chain: In 20 years, produce at least 30% of the U.S. chemical demand via sustainable and cost-effective biomanufacturing pathways.
- Health: In 20 years, increase the manufacturing scale of cell-based therapies to expand access, decrease health inequities, and decrease the manufacturing cost of cell-based therapies 10-fold.
- Cross-Cutting Advances: In five years, sequence the genomes of one million microbial species and understand the function of at least 80% of the newly discovered genes.
There are specific R&D needs for each larger goal for biotechnology in food, but the report also outlines ones common to all of these issues. They include building more food-grade biomanufacturing facilities, including ones for precision fermentation; supporting infrastructure for more plant and animal gene sequencing and breeding; and developing a greater understanding of consumer acceptance of food products made with the assistance of biotechnology.
Each of the five sections include bold goals that highlight what could be possible with the power of biology. These goals are intended to provide a broad vision for the US bioeconomy and what can be achieved with concerted action from industry, academia, nonprofits, the Federal Government, and other organizations.
The bold goals set ambitious national targets for the next two decades to help establish R&D priorities that will be critical to advance the bioeconomy. They are not meant to represent commitments by an agency or department to undertake specific activities.
Each section also outlines the essential R&D needed to achieve the goals for the US bioeconomy, opportunities for public-private collaboration, and recommendations for enhancing biosafety and biosecurity.
In September 2022, Biden signed an Executive Order (E.O.) making biotechnology a national priority. In it, food security was mentioned but was not listed as a main section in the report.
The new document offers a more detailed look into how biotech can improve the food system: more efficient agriculture, increasing sustainability of the entire food system, creating more nutritious food, and making the system more resilient to climate change and other external problems.