Integrated Agricultural Applications
The farming industry is almost certainly about to change dramatically and the importance of novel production crops of the future will not, it seems, be limited to the energy sector. As Senator Tom Harkin of the Senate Agriculture Com-mittee pointed out in June 2001, the potential exists for anything which can be made from a barrel of oil to be manufactured from farmed produce of one kind or another. The realisation of this is growing on a global basis and it is, therefore, highly likely that a considerable part of the forthcoming development of agri-cultural biotechnology will move in this direction. For reasons which should beobvious, and follow on logically from much of the preceding discussion, there is a natural fit between agricultural and environmental biotechnologies and hence, a significant potential for integration both between and within them.
Some of the ways in which this can take place in respect of biowaste-derived soil amendment products have already been described and, clearly, the advan-tages they convey are not limited to the particular energy crop examples cited. Before leaving this particular topic, there is another aspect of their application which is worthy of note, not least since it illustrates both integrated production and a potential means of obviating current dependence on a significant environ-mental pollutant.