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Biodiversity Glossary

Bio - Prefix indicating the action of living organisms.

Bioassay - A method of determining the effect of a compound by quantifying its effect on living organisms or their component parts.(Source: ec.europa.eu/research/biosociety/library)

Bioavailability - The degree of availability to biodegradation of pollutants in contaminated soil or land.(Source: European Commission CUB)

Biocatalyst - An enzyme that activates or speeds up a chemical reaction.Source:  Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries. 

Biochemical - A product produced by chemical reactions in living organisms.                                            (Source: European Commission CUB)

Biocoenosis - Varied community of organisms living in the same small area, e.g. in the bark of a tree, on a wall, in a pond. (Source: Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries) 

Biodegradation - The microbial mediated process of chemical breakdown of a substance to smaller products caused by micro-organisms or their enzymes.(Source: European Commission CUB)

Biodiversity - a synonym of biological diversity, see below. The contracted form 'biodiversity' was apparently coined by W.G. Rosen (1985) for the first planning meeting of the 'National Forum on Biodiversity' held in Washington DC (September 1986), the proceedings of which (E.O. Wilson and F.M. Peter, 1988) brought the notion of biodiversity to the attention of a wide field of scientists and others. Source: Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA)

Bioenergy - Energy made available by the combustion of materials derived from biological sources.( Source: European Commission CUB )

Biogeography - The scientific study of the geographic distribution of organisms. (Source: Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries)

Bioinformatics - The study of the application of computer and statistical techniques to the management of information. In genome projects this includes the development of methods to search databases quickly, to analyze DNA sequence information, and to predict protein sequence and structure from DNA sequence data. (Source: Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries).

Biolisticsm - In molecular biology, a method developed to inject DNA into cells by mixing the DNA with small metal particles and then firing the particles into the host cell at very high speed. (Source: European Commission CUB)

Biological control - Control of pests by using predators to eat them.(Source: Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries)

Biological control agent - Vaccines, therapeutic serums, toxoids, antitoxins and analagous biological products used to induce immunity to infectious diseases or harmful substances of biological origin.(Source: European Commission CUB)

Biological diversity - encompasses all species of plants, animals, and microorganisms and the ecosystems and ecological processes of which they are parts. (Source: Environmental Protection Agency EPA, 1990)                         Description (2): The variety of life on all levels of organization, represented by the number and relative frequencies of items (genes, organisms and ecosystems.(Source: McAllister, 1991)

Biological emergency - Biological emergency is a situation caused by events that may result in harm with adverse impacts, either immediate or delayed, on the environment in general, and the public and workers in particular, due to the escape or release of organisms. Source:Cuba 

Biological molecules -  Large, complex molecules, such as proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates that are produced only by living organisms. Biological molecules are often referred to as macromolecules or biopolymers.(Source: Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries)

Biological resources - The use of living organisms to control pests or disease. May be a single organism or a combination of a number of different ones.Source: European Commission CUB

Biological resources - includes genetic resources, organisms of parts thereof, populations, or any other biotic component of ecosystems with actual or potential use of value for humanity Source: Convention on Biodiversity (CBD)

Biologics - Includes genetic resources, organisms or parts thereof, populations, or any other biotic component of ecosystems with direct, indirect or potential use or value for humanity.(Source: Convention on Biological Diversity CBD) 

Biomass - All organic matter that derives from the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy.(Source: European Commission,CUB)

Biopesticide - Naturally occuring biological agents used to kill pests by causing specific biological effects rather than by inducing chemical poisoning. Pesticides are made from biological sources that are from toxins which occur naturally. (Source: Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries) 

Biopharmaceutical - Recombinant protein drugs, recombinant vaccines and monoclonal antibodies (for therapeutic roles). Biopharmaceuticals are still only a small part of the pharmaceutical industry, but of increasing importance. (See biologics)(Source: European Commission CUB)

Bioprocess - Production process making use of living organisms, their parts (e.g., cells) or their products (e.g., enzymes).(Source: Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries)

Bioprocessing - A technique in which microorganisms, living cells, or their components are used to produce a desired end product. (Source: Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries) 

Bioreactor - A container used for bio-processing.(Source: Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries)

Bioregion - A territory defined by a combination of biological, social, and geographic criteria, rather than geopolitical considerations; generally, a system of related, interconnected ecosystems. (Source: Global Biodiversity Assessment, GBA)

Bioremediation - The use of organisms, usually microorganisms, to break down pollutants in soil, air or groundwater.(Source:Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries)

Biosafety - is safety aspects related to the application of biotechnologies and to the release into the environment of [transgenic plants and other organisms particularly micro-organisms] that could negatively affect plant genetic resources, plant, animal or human health, or the environment. Source: FAO Draft International Code of Conduct for Plant Biotechnology as it Affects the Conservation and Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources

Biosensor technology - The use of cells or biological molecules in an electronic system to detect specific substances. Consists of a biological sensing agent coupled with a microelectronic circuit.(Source: Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries )

Description (2) A sensor used to obtain information about a life process. (Source: The Internet Encyclopedia of Science)

Biosphere reserve - Established under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, biosphere reserves are a series of protected areas linked through a global network, intended to demonstrate the relationship between conservation and development.(Source:Global Biodiversity Assessment GBA)

Biosynthesis - Production of a chemical by a living organism.  (Source: Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries)

Biota - All of the organisms, including animals, plants, fungi, and microorganisms, found in a given area. (Source: Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries)

Biotechnology - Any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms, or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use. (Source: Convention on Biological Diversity CBD)The range of techniques for making use of the properties of living organisms to create products or perform services.

Description (1): Modern Biotechnology consists of activities which involve the use of genetic engineering techniques and others which do not. In some activities, living organisms are used in a contained system; in others, organisms are deliberately released, or used, in the environment. Simply defined, it is the Release of Genetically Modified Organisms to the Environment (Source: UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution)

Description(2): Modern biotechnology means the application of in vitro nucleic acid techniques, including family recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and direct injection of nucleic acid into cells or organelles, or<br>Fusion of cells beyond the taxonimic family that overcome natural physiological reproductive or recombination barriers and are not techniques used in traditional breeding and selection.(Source: UNEP/CBD Draft Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety Montreal January 24-28 2000.)

Biotic - Pertaining to any aspect of life, especially to characteristics of entire populations or ecosystems. (Source: Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries)

Biotope - Small area with uniform biological conditions (climate, soil, altitude, etc.) Source: Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries

Biotype - Group of genetically identical individuals. (Source: Specialized encyclopedia and dictionaries)

Bioaccumulation - is a general term for the accumulation of substances, such as pesticides (DDT is an example), methylmercury, or other organic chemicals in an organism or part of an organism. The accumulation process involves the biological sequestering of substances that enter the organism through respiration, food intake, epidermal (skin) contact with the substance, and/or other means. ]USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program Bioaccumulation

Bioacoustics  - is a cross-disciplinary science that combines biology and acoustics. Usually it refers to the investigation of sound production, dispersion through elastic media, and reception in animals, including humans. wiki

Bioactive -  Of or relating to a substance that has an effect on living tissue

 Bioastronautics – is a specialty area of bioengineering research which encompasses numerous aspects of biological, behavioral, and medical concern governing humans and other living organisms in a space flight environment; and includes design of payloads, space habitats, and life support systems. In short, it spans the study and support of life in space. wiki

 Biobibliography -  book or article combining an account of a person's life with a discussion of works written by or about that person.

 Bioplast  - a functional unit of living protoplasm : CELL

Biocenosis - A group of interacting organisms that live in a particular habitat and form an ecological community

Biochemistry -  the science dealing with the chemistry of living matter.