Career option in Agricultural Biochemistry

A.Field description

Agricultural Biochemistry will provide an introduction to the subject of biochemistry from a perspective that will be particularly applicable to agricultural scientists. It will focus on the chemistry of plant and animal metabolism and the biomolecules that are involved in these pathways and then go on to discuss strategies plants and animals adopt for processing of nutrients, the adaptation of these organisms to environmental conditions and the ways in which new genetic engineering techniques can be used to manipulate growth. What do drugs, alcohol, cows' stomachs, and herbicides have in common? Biochemistry! The world is being transformed by the technological revolution we see around us. This is also true for agriculture, with the introduction of transgenic organism just one obvious example. This graduate-level course explores the biochemical underpinnings of agriculture and food production, and provides a broad survey of biochemistry with selected topics under the broad field of agriculture.

B.Education Guide
Education Details & Eligibility

Many PhD. chemists work in the agricultural chemicals field, although an advanced degree is not a prerequisite for non research support positions. A Ph.D. however, generally gets an individual more complex and challenging research assignments earlier in his or her career. Agricultural chemists recommend that students take courses in biology, biochemistry, human toxicology, water and soil chemistry, and geology. Knowledge of computers and a course in research ethics are also strongly suggested. Scientists already in the field point out that there are now many more degree programs in environmental sciences now than existed in the past. These, they say, are another route into this field. The newly created Department offers two compulsory courses and four advance courses to B.Sc. (Ag.) Hons  Students.  The Department also offers compulsory courses to B.Sc. (Hort.) students.  A limited number of students are being admitted to the courses leading to M.Sc. (Ag.) and Ph. D.  Degrees in Agricultural Bio-Chemistry. A number of students have worked on specific problems in the area and submitted their thesis.  Doctoral researches included areas like Bio-Chemical Investigation on edible aroids. The following are the Eligibilities

B.Sc with Zoology, Botany and Chemistry/Bio-chemistry or B.Sc (Ag) with 55% marks. Admission to B.Sc is open to any candidate who has passed the intermediate examination with at least second division marks in agriculture or science (physics, chemistry and maths/biology), or the board of intermediate education, U.P. or any other equivalent examination recognized by the Allahabad university. Both men and women are eligible

Course Duration
  • B.Sc . AGRICULTURE Biochemistry (3 YEAR COURSE)
  • MSC Biochemistry (2 Year Course)

Approximate Education Expenses: In India it costs as below:

  • B.Sc-Rs.20000/ per year- (approx) (3 Years)
  • Diploma Courses- Rs.15000/ per Year- (approx) - (2 Years)
  • M.Sc-Rs.30000/ per Year- (approx) (2 Years)

The expense majorly depends on the country where we study. Also government offers many scholarships for this course.

C.Institutions that Offers this Education

Many universities in U.K and Australia provide wide range of studies in this field.

D.Job Opportunities and Job Roles

Some chemists develop molecules used in herbicides or other pesticides, and others develop molecules and new compounds that effectively reduce damage to crops from pests and disease but are less toxic to animals and humans who eat the food. Still others help to improve the cost-effectiveness of food production or are focused on other business-related aspects of the field.
Agriultural biotechnology is the fastest growing sub-discipline within agricultural chemistry and is currently focused in three major areas: genetic engineering of crops to be more herbicide-tolerant or less apt to be killed along with the weeds during herbicide treatment; genetic engineering of produce, to improve taste and color and promote longer shelf life; and the improvement of plants' natural tolerance to certain pests. An example of the latter is the Calgene Corporation's work on introducing the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) protein into its proprietary cotton varieties. This causes the plants to produce a Bt toxin that kills Heliothis, a principal cotton insect pest. Crops engineered to be herbicide tolerant are thought to be safer and more environmentally friendly than other crops.

Working Conditions

Agricultural chemists generally work in a lab or a simulated environment such as a test field or test waterway. In determining the presence and fate of agricultural chemicals, analytical chemistry methods are used. In development work, agricultural chemists rely heavily on their training in process chemistry and basic organic chemistry.

Places of Employment

Agricultural chemists are employed in government agencies, such as the USDA, the FDA, and the EPA, in industry, and in academia, because agricultural chemistry is a very active area of research, classroom teaching, and outreach. Career opportunities are also available in food companies that are involved in genetically modified foods. Some of the large chemical companies count their agricultural divisions as their most lucrative businesses. The increase in environ-mental regulations has created opportunities in environmental chemistry work within the agricultural chemicals industry. How-ever, the primary focus for most of these companies is still developing and selling agricultural chemicals at the most competitive price.

Job outlook

Agricultural chemistry focuses on chemical compositions and changes involved in the production, protection, and use of crops and livestock. It seeks to control and understand the processes by which humans obtain food and fiber for them-selves and feed for their animals. Agricultural chemists work with food producers to increase yields, improve quality, and reduce costs. They also study the causes and effects of bio-chemical reactions related to plant and animal growth, seek ways to control these reactions, and develop chemical products that provide help in controlling these reactions. Chemical products developed to assist in the production of food, feed, and fiber include herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, plant growth regulators, fertilizers, and animal feed supplements.

E.Approximate Salary Range

Chemists in the agriculture business say that any advantage a student can gain through intern-ships or summer jobs at a company will be extremely helpful because the job market is so competitive. Personal contacts are important in this field and will give you an opportunity to discover whether this field is right for you. The salary starts from Rs.5000. Also it varies for research graduates. Based on the skills it differs widely.

F.Related Links

Association for Clinical Biochemistry

Other Agriculture/Veterinary/Forestry Career Option Archive