RDEDigest RDEDigest

Official Research, Development and Extension Newsletter of the University of the Philippines Los Baños
visit us at http://rdenews.uplb.edu.ph

Volume 1 Number 2 May 2009 - Oct 2009

UPLB gets P P30M grant for food security program in Regions 4 and 5
PHOTO: FACRUZ

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he University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) recently received a P P30M grant for a food security program from the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).

DA-BAR Executive Director Nicomedes P. Eleazar (center) presents UPLB Chancellor Luis Rey I. Velasco and CPAf Dean Agnes C. Rola an enlarged copy of the check. Flanking them are Vice-Chancellor for Research and Extension Enrico P. Supangco (leftmost) and College of Agriculture Dean Domingo E. Angeles (rightmost). Behind them are CA Cluster Directors Dr. Rodrigo B. Badayos and Dr. Jose E. Hernandez.

This was held in simple ceremonies at the UPLB Operations Room last July 29, attended by university officials led by Chancellor Luis Rey I. Velasco who formally received the P P30M check from DA-BAR Director Nicomedes P. Eleazar who represented Agriculture Secretary Arthur C. Yap. The grant will fund the UPLB-led participatory program “Collaborative Research, Development and Extension Services for Food Security” that aims to help ensure rice self-sufficiency ni Regions 4A, 4B and 5. During the ceremonies, Director Eleazar disclosed that the project concept came up as a result of a

series of DA-BAR consultations with various institutions, including UPLB and other state colleges and universities. The DA, then, started streamlining the implementation of its FIELDS program that seeks to increase the productivity of the agricultural sector by providing funds for fertilizer, infrastructure, education and extension work, loans, postharvest facilities, and seeds. The DA-BAR director said that DA recognizes the role of UPLB in providing technical and training support to the current extension delivery system of the department in the rice sector. He said that more commodities will eventually be included in the program. Chancellor Velasco expressed his gratitude to the DA for entrusting UPLB to provide the research and extension services needed by agricultural technicians and farmers in the regions.
Degrading plastics using fungus ... Bioremediating wastewater ... Squash varieties for processing ... Pesticide use in coconut okay ... Grafting to reduce eggplant disease .. Mangroves fight global warming ... Search for biofuels ... Biotech to revive duck industry ...

Program leader and College of Public Affairs (CPAf ) Dean Dr. Agnes C. Rola, promised that her team will document the best practices in the implementation of the FIELDS program and analyze the constraints in the production of rice and other commodities. The program will be implemented by CPAf in collaboration with the College of Agriculture and other UPLB units. The program will also focus on strengthening the capability of the DA regional field units, state universities and colleges, local government units, and other organizations in effectively managing the government’s rice self-sufficiency program. To strengthen and sustain partnership among rice stakeholders, the program will also help the provincial and municipal government institutions create legal frameworks needed to support agricultural development planning. (Florante A. Cruz)■
7 8 9 10 11 12 12 13 UPLB technologies to be aired ... Training for Cambantoc held ... SESAM monitors envi risks ... New machinery introduced ... Store Jatropha seeds right ... Fish get to ride in fish ark ... Volume Number 2 Cellphone-based1guide for soil ID ... May - October 2009 14 14 15 15 16 17 18

IN this ISSUE:

Bioethanol from grass, wood ... 2 Diesel from microalgae ... 2 Conserving the ayungin .... 3 Biofuel-timber plantation ... 3 Organic products center launch ... 4 Bakanae disease of rice ... 5 Microbial rennet for cheese industry ... 5 Biosafety regulations costly .... 6

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NEWS
Leading this group is Dr. Fidel Rey P. Nayve, Jr. of UPLB’s National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH) whose eyes are set on producing fuel ethanol from lignocellulosic materials readily available in the Philippines—grass, wood and agricultural by-products. Rice straw, rice hull, sugarcane bagasse, corn stover corn cobs, and even dried wood, cogon and talahib are jampacked with lignocellulose, composed of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. Lignocellulose can be fermented to produce ethanol fuel. Meanwhile, dimethyl ether, another byproduct of lignocellulose fermentation, is also a promising fuel source for diesel and petroleum engines and even gaspowered turbines. Dr. Nayve recently reported that the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through its Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development (PCASTRD) will soon grant the UPLB scientists P10M in research funds to develop technologies for cellulosic fuel ethanol production. According to him, he is optimistic that having a mature technology within the next five to 10 years is in the offing. BIOTECH has already in its care, several microorganisms which can be used to process grass, wood and agricultural by-products into ethanol. Studies will be underway to identify which materials can be suitable for ethanol production and developing and optimizing the organisms’ capability to ferment the materials into ethanol. (Florante A. Cruz) ■

Researchers target bioethanol from grass, wood and byproducts in 5 years
The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) has recently organized a group of biotechnologists and chemical engineers to conduct scientific investigations in a bid to produce ethanol from so-called 3rd generation biofuel feedstocks.

PHOTO: Cogon (Imperata cylindrica), commons.wikimedia.org

feedstock such as microalgae has gotten a big boost. Professor Emeritus Milagros R. Martinez-Goss of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) got the nod of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Resources Research and Development (PCAMRD) to fund her proposal to mass cultivate freshwater microalgae for biodiesel feedstock. Microalgae organisms can be easily grown and used to produce a wide range of commercially interesting by-products. Of particular interest to many researchers is that microalgae can produce enormous amounts of lipids which can be converted into diesel fuel. In 2007, Yusuf Chisti of Massey University, New Zealand estimated that microalgae can produce as much as 136,900 liters of oil/ha compared to only 1,892 liters/ha from Jatropha.

Coconut, according to Chisti’s study, can only give a slightly better oil yield of 2,689 liters/ha than Jatropha. With an initial funding of P4.5M from the DOST-PCAMRD, Dr. Goss will be mass cultivating promising species of freshwater microalgae such as Chlorella vulgaris, Scendesmus obliqus and Nitzschia palae. She stated that the three species have the potential as biodiesel feedstock because of their growth rate, lipid content and lipid profile. Dr. Goss’ project is part of a larger research program aimed to characterize, optimize and genetically and physiologically modify microalgae for mass cultivation to be used for biodiesel production. The program will be facilitated by UPLB in cooperation with the Ateneo de Manila University and the University of Santo Tomas. (Florante A. Cruz) ■

Philippines’ quest for diesel from microalgae starts at UPLB
Biofuel research and development is fast gaining momentum in the Philippines, with current focus on Jatropha, sweet sorghum and cassava. Just recently, the drive to produce diesel fuel from renewable and non-food biodiesel

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University of the Philippines Los Baños Research, Development and Extension Digest

PHOTO: Chlorella vulgaris, Karl Bruun, algaebase.org

NEWS
PHOTO: Ayungin (Leiopotherapon plumbeus), Sidney Snoeck, my_sarisari_store.typepad.com

The tastiest fish of all the edible native freshwater species in the Philippines, ayungin is now rarely seen and sold in the market. When available, it costs as much as P500 per kilo. A research project at UPLB, funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)–Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Resources Research and Development (PCAMRD) is underway to save from threat this freshwater fish. Dr. Pablo P. Ocampo, head of the UPLB Limnological Research Station, has established a captive breeding program to save the ayungin. Dr. Ocampo reported that ayungin collected by the program from Laguna de Bay has been successfully maintained in the station’s concrete tanks. The collected ayungin broodstock was found responding well to a specially formulated diet

combination of commercial prawn feeds and Tubifex worms. The project has studied ways on how to induce the ayungin to naturally spawn in an artificial environment. While simulated rain, flowing water, vegetation, sand and soil have been incorporated into the artificial environment, the research station’s findings suggested that ayungin from the wild may find it to naturally reproduce in captivity. Nonetheless, Dr. Ocampo reported that the rearing techniques used were being refined. Experiments were underway to determine whether live feeds may help the ayungin to breed inside the tanks. Hopefully, the captive breeding techniques being researched on may come to fruition. With success, the project can provide more Filipinos the chance to taste and savor once again the traditional delectable dishes prepared from ayungin. (Florante Cruz) ■

‘Ayungin’ target of conservation attempt by limno experts
Ayungin (Leiopotherapon plumbeus), a freshwater fish species endemic in the Philippines, is thinning in population. A small silver-colored fish, ayungin used to be plenty in the country’s freshwater bodies, such as Laguna de Bay. Its overfishing by local fishermen mainly for duck feeds and family consumption has now made it scarce.

UPLB puts up biofuel and timber plantation in Laguna-Quezon land grant
Part of the 6,500-hectare land grant property of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) straddling the provinces of Laguna and Quezon, is currently being developed into tree farms for biofuel, timber and agroforestry enterprises. With a P13M grant from the National Economic and Development Authority, the UPLB Land Grant Management Office (LGMO) is setting up a 120-hectare mixed plantation site within the UP Laguna-Quezon land grant. An 80-hectare plantation adjacent to the land grant is also being developed for livelihood opportunities of people living in the nearby upland communities.

PHOTO: Courtesy of LGMO

In a report by Forester Sofronio C. Camacho of the LGMO, Tubang-bakod (Jatropha curcas) and Bani (Pongamia pinnata) will soon be planted in these areas. Tubang-bakod has gained prominence in the country for its biofuel potential, while Bani seed oil, also found useful for diesel generators, is now being eyed worldwide as a biodiesel feedstock. The university hopes to eventually sell biofuel oil to the Philippine Forest Corporation-Alternative Fuels Corporation and Philippine National Oil Company.

Fast-growing and non-traditional forest species such as bagalunga, batino, anchoan dilaw and malapapaya will also be grown for timber. Wood from the forest plantation will be processed into kiln dried lumber, furniture, fixture and housing material components later on. Two large nurseries are now established and continuously producing quality seedlings for planting materials in the project site. Forester Camacho also reported that organizing work is being done in the communities near the project site. (Florante A. Cruz) ■
Volume 1 Number 2 May - October 2009

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NEWS

UPLB project launches organic products center in Baras, Rizal
Baras, the organic farming capital of Rizal and the first organic town in the county now beams with pride with the launching of the Baras Organic Products Center (OPC) last July 13. The launching of the Baras OPC is an output of the Organic Vegetable Project (OVP) being implemented by the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). The Agricultural Systems Cluster (ASC) of the College of Agriculture (CA) with the article writer as project leader and Dr. Edna Luis A. Matienzo as site coordinator spearhead this project. Collaborating with the ASC are the Kasamahan sa Kalikasang Pagsasaka Multipurpose Cooperative (KAKASAMPC), the Office of the Mayor and the Municipal Agriculture Office of Baras, Rizal. The products put on sale in the OPC include organic vegetables, rice and fruits. It also sells farm inputs like organic fertilizers, fermented foliar spray, botanical pest spray, vegetable seedlings and open pollinated vegetable seeds. Aside from products, the OPC also promotes to walk-in visitors UPLBgenerated technologies such as: propagation of earwigs as biological pest control; production of tea manure, fermented plant and fruit juices as liquid fertilizers and plant growth promoters; production of open-pollinated vegetable seeds; organic vegetable seedling nursery management, proper postharvest handling of organic vegetables; use of BIO-N and MykoVam to enhance plantsoil nutrient management. Meanwhile, the OPC also offers trainings on organic farming, farm

THE BARAS ORGANIC PRODUCTS CENTER (OPC) is located in Barangay Evangelista along the National Highway connecting the towns of Tanay and Morong, Rizal. It can be reached through the following mobile numbers: 0920 622 5874 and 0920 718 0028.
PHOTO: Courtesy of BMCALUB

tours, study visits, a reading corner and technical advising. To ensure the regular supply of organic products sold in the center, a 1.5 ha communal organic vegetable production area is maintained by the KAKASA-MPC using organic farming technologies developed by UPLB and other agencies. The backyard farms cultivated by KAKASA-MPC members also contribute to the supply of products. Started in October 2007, the UPLBNEDA OVP continues to provide various training courses, seminars and study tours for KAKASA-MPC members. The project is being done in cooperation with the local government of Baras, Department of Trade and Industry of Rizal, and the Department of Agriculture Region IV-A.

The project got funding support from the NEDA Region IV-A and the RP-Japan Grant Assistance for Underprivileged Farmers (KR2). The project is also being implemented in Tayabas, Quezon with Ms. Myrna A. Tenorio as site coordinator. A third project site will soon be established in Bauan, Batangas. The OPC launching was witnessed by UPLB Vice-Chancellor Dr. Enrico P. Supangco; Ms. Mara Pardo De Tavera, Managing Director of Mara’s Organic Market (MOM) and president of the Organic Producers and Trade Association (OPTA), Philippines; Regional Director Severino C. Santos, OIC of the NEDA Region IV-A; Provincial Director Mercedes A. Parreño of the DTI-Rizal; Mayor Wilfredo C. Robles of Baras and Mr. Eduardo Espinola, Chair of KAKASAMPC. (Blesilda M. Calub) ■

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University of the Philippines Los Baños Research, Development and Extension Digest

NEWS

Bakanae disease of rice a potential threat to the country’s rice supply
Bakanae, a disease of rice caused by the fungus Giberella fujikuroi, may pose a threat to the country’s rice supply. Rice plants infected with bakanae have abnormal elongation growth, produce empty panicles or no edible grains, are incapable of supporting their own weight, and eventually topple over and die. The symptoms are the effects of gibberellic acid, a plant growth hormone, produced by the fungus during its sexual reproductive stage. UPLB plant pathologist Christian Joseph R. Cumagun found that there is very high genetic diversity in the numerous isolates of G. fujikuroi he collected in Nueva Ecija and Laguna provinces. This genetic variation, according to Dr. Cumagun, opens up new problems for rice breeders developing varieties resistant to bakanae. Dr. Cumagun noted that, although the disease is a lesser threat than tungro, leaf blight, and leaf blast, its incidence is rising in some areas of the Philippines because of the popular use of high-yielding but susceptible rice varieties. In survey made by the Philippine Rice Research Institute in 2006, 46% of farmer-respondents in Ilocos Norte, 39% in Agusan, and 54% Nueva Ecija use PSBRc82—a variety susceptible to bakanae. Bakanae (ba-ka-na-eh) was first identified in 1898 by Shotaro Hori in Japan. The disease is now found in Asia, Africa, and North America. (Kennedy Serafica and Florante A. Cruz) ■
WHITE SOFT CHEESE or ‘kesong puti’, will greatly benefit from the improved microbial rennet technology being developed by Dr. Mercado. ‘Kesong puti’ is produced by several cooperatives in Laguna and other provinces with small dairy industries.
PHOTO: FACRUZ

BIOTECH-produced microbial rennet promises to boost local cheese industry
Good news to our local dairy industry! UPLB’s National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH) is refining its microbial rennet technology to make it more efficient and cheaper to use for cheese production. Rennet is a cocktail of enzymes found inside the abomasum (fourth stomach) of cows. It contains chymosin, an enzyme used to coagulate milk in cheese production. Biotechnologist Dr. Susana Mercado reported that using coconut paring meal for culturing Rhizopus chinensis—a fungus which can be fermented to produce an enzyme similar to chymosin—may be used as substitute for the more expensive wheat bran. In cheese production, the use of rennet from unweaned calves is preferred because it contains high amounts of chymosin. However, slaughtering young cows just to extract rennet is not economically feasible in the Philippines. Thus, dairy producers with capital use imported rennet concentrate while small-scale local dairy producers make use of rennet coming from slaughtered adult cows which have low chymosin and high pepsin content. So instead of producing quality cheese from milk, local dairy businesses end up with products with undesirable properties. The use of BIOTECH’s microbial rennet is about 50% cheaper than the use of animal rennet. Its performance is also comparable to that of imported microbial rennet. Dr. Mercado’s promising microbial rennet technology will go a long way in addressing problems in the local production of cheese, a scientific find beneficial in the development of the dairy industry in the country. (John Benedict Ricarte and Florante A. Cruz) ■
Volume 1 Number 2 May - October 2009

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NEWS
RICE, THE FILIPINO’S STAPLE, has become a social commodity because of the global economic crisis. Research and development efforts are pursued to ensure that rice remains sufficient in the country.
PHOTO: FACRUZ

Philippine biosafety regulations cost too much says UPLB study
The Philippines’ biosafety regulation procedures are not only costly, but take too long. These are the findings of a concluded study at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. The UPLB study, led by Dr. Jose M. Yorobe, Jr., found that the cost of tests as part of the current biosafety regulation of biotechnology products in the country, particularly rice, is rather high. Dr. Yorobe is a member of the faculty of the Department of Agricultural Economics of UPLB. Golden rice and bacterial blight resistant (BBR) rice are currently being tested in the Philippines before their approval for commercialization. The National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines (NCBP) regulates the tests of these rice varieties. Golden rice contains high levels of Vitamin A, giving the grains a yellowish or golden color, and is the hope of many countries in

addressing Vitamin A deficiency, a leading micronutrient deficiency worldwide. BBR rice, on the other hand, is developed against leaf blight caused by Xanthomonas oryzae. According to IRRI, the disease can reduce Asia’s annual rice production by 60%. BBR rice could thus help increase rice yields. According to Dr. Yorobe’s study, the laboratory/screenhouse evaluations, confined field trials, multi-location trials, and eventual commercialization of Golden rice and BBR rice, in particular, require a large capital investment. Dr. Yorobe’s study revealed that the regulatory process for BBR rice had already cost more than US$ 61,000 since testing began in 1998. Golden Rice’s had already cost US$ 12,000 since 2004. He said that the higher price to pay for stricter regulations included not only the actual cost of testing but also the foregone benefits due to the delay in the commercialization of the two rice varieties. Dr. Yorobe also observed that for every year of delay in commercialization, the

country lost money from regulation expenses instead of benefiting from these technologies. It would take about three years or more for the BBR rice and Golden rice to be released commercially. A 2002 study by the University of Bonn in Germany found that Golden Rice could provide as much as US$ 127M yearly to the Philippine economy in terms of reduced mortality and disability from vitamin A deficiency. Dr. Yorobe, for his part, estimated that BBR Rice could provide, as much as P P1.5B, as offset to the damage caused by bacterial blight in the Philippines. Dr. Yorobe recommended in his study that the NCBP should take a second look at the biosafety regulatory process, citing that some regulatory procedures may be redundant while others may be done at a much lower cost. Dr. Yorobe said that cost-cutting should be made, of course, without compromising biosafety. (Kennedy Serafica and Florante A. Cruz) ■

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University of the Philippines Los Baños Research, Development and Extension Digest

RESEARCH UPDATES

XYLARIA is a genus of fungi commonly found growing on dead wood. Two of the common species of the genus are Xylaria hypoxylon (left) and Xylaria polymorpha (right). Being ascomycetous, Xylaria secrete powerful digestive enzymes which break down organic substances into smaller molecules.

Plastics, non-biodegradable before, not anymore
Each barangay, town or city in the Philippines has its own story to tell about its waste disposal problems. While some of them lack or have none to guarantee good waste disposal management, the town of Los Baños in Laguna has one to vouch for a cleaner future with the promising results of a research project currently done by the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). Dr. Virginia Cuevas of the Institute of Biological Sciences-College of Arts and Sciences and her co-researchers have recently identified Xylaria mutants that can be potentially developed into a product capable of degrading plastic bags found in dumpsites. Xylaria is a fungus that grows on dead wood, utilizing the latter’s components such cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin as food.
PHOTOS: commons.wikimedia.org

PHOTOS: commons.wikimedia.org

In 2001, Dr. Cuevas showed evidence of Xylaria colonizing polyethylene (PET) plastic strips. Most plastic bags, including garbage bags, are now made of PET. The UPLB researchers have been busy helping the town’s waste processing program by studying fungi that degrade plastic and compost biodegradable materials. In an experiment at the Los Baños Eco Waste Center, Dr. Cuevas and her team found out that white mutant strains of Xylaria were most effective in degrading plastic wastes. The experiment evaluated wild and mutant strains of Xylaria for their capability in decomposing organic matter and plastic materials. The project also tested the capability of mixed cultures of Xylaria and Trichoderma for rapid composting

of the town’s wastes that included plastics. Trichoderma, also a fungus, is a proven compost activator. Dr. Cuevas, in fact, has already developed a rapid composting technology using Trichoderma. According to the project’s results, composting using the mixed cultures took only 30-35 days. After 35 days, the compost was ready for use. Ripe compost produced by the project did not harbor harmful E. coli and Salmonella and did not contain heavy metals such as copper, arsenic, cadmium and mercury. A field trial using the compost for Baby’s Breath (Aster) production is now ongoing. Field trials will also be done on rice, corn and other vegetables. (John Benedict Ricarte and Florante A. Cruz) ■

TRICHODERMA, a genus of mycoparasitic fungi present in soil, has been developed as biological control agent against several pathogens of plants. Some species of Trichoderma have also been used to produce enzymes. Left photo shows Trichoderma in colony, right shows spore-bearing Trichoderma.

Volume 1 Number 2 May - October 2009

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RESEARCH UPDATES

Researchers to complete bacteria-based system for treating hazardous wastewater
iotechnologists at the University of the Philippines Baños (UPLB) are hard at work putting the final touches on the prototype of a wastewater treatment system that uses bacteria. A heightened awareness of the condition of its rivers has led local government units and concerned agencies in the province of Bulacan to tap the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH) of UPLB in setting up bioremediation solutions, which are less costly and more environmentfriendly than conventional chemical treatments. Dr. Lorele C. Trinidad, researcher at BIOTECH, and leader of the team developing the bioremediation system, reported that the prototype they have developed can remove and at the same time recover heavy metals from water discharged during processing of gold and leather tanning. Gold jewelry-making is a popular household-based livelihood in the province of Bulacan, but most jewelrymakers here use crude equipment and inefficient processing techniques. Silver, a valuable metal, can be recovered from the chemical solutions used in gold-smelting. The recovery process, however, results in copperladen wastewater that is usually dumped into Bulacan’s river system. When Dr. Trinidad’s team examined industrial wastewater from various sites of the river system, samples were found to contain 5,000-10,000 ppm of copper. The limit allowed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is only 1.3 ppm.

B

PHOTOS: commons.wikimedia.org

COPPER (above): Long-term exposure to copper can cause health problems such as headaches, vomiting and diarrhea. Intense copper poisoning may lead to liver and kidney damage, or even death.

CHROMIUM III (left) and CHROMIUM VI (right): Some chromium compounds are toxic to plants and animals. People working wtih chromium may develop varous skin illnesses such as sores and rashes.

Also a common means of livelihood in Bulacan, leather tanning operations use the chemical called Chromium III in the treatment of raw animal hide. According to Dr. Trinidad, leather tanning use up so much Chromium III that half as much of the applied chemical ultimately ends up in the river. With funding assistance from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and its Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development (PCIERD), Dr. Trinidad’s team identified 12 isolates of bacteria, collected from the various sites in the provinces of Marinduque and Bulacan, found with very high capability in reducing sulfates and producing hydrogen sulfide gas.

The hydrogen sulfide gas is then used by the prototype bioremediation system to precipitate copper and chromium from wastewater. The bioremediation system prototype was built by the DOST’s Industrial Technology Development Institute (IDTI) for Dr. Trinidad’s project. Results of optimization studies done on the prototype have shown great potential for upscaling to a working unit for installation in actual operation sites. Dr. Trinidad and her team of researchers are now designing a bench-scale metal recovery system, to cost around P300,000, for completion by the end of 2009. (Florante A. Cruz) ■

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University of the Philippines Los Baños Research, Development and Extension Digest

RESEARCH UPDATES

UPLB study IDs squash varieties for food processing
Food technologists at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) have identified local squash varieties that may be used for food processing. Squash is a nutritious and commercially important vegetable planted in many regions in the Philippines. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is pushing for large-production of nutritious and affordable vegetable-based food items. Unlike in countries such as the USA, squash varieties bred specifically for processing are unavailable in the Philippines. Local manufacturers merely use varieties already available in the market. With vegetable processing being intensively promoted by the government, squash has now a huge potential for processed food, e.g., noodles, soup, baby food, packed snacks and bread. Dr. Linda B. Mabesa and Mr. Wilson T. Tan, researchers at the Food Science Cluster, College of Agriculture, UPLB evaluated the qualities of 35 squash varieties from all over the country in order to determine possible indices of squash quality for processing. They reported that physico-chemical analyses and sensory evaluation of samples from the 35 squash varieties were made. From the samples, squash flour and noodles, frozen squash slices and squash puree were also prepared and evaluated. The researchers identified properties such as color, texture, cohesiveness, and most especially, sweetness and flavor, as important determinants of acceptability for processing. None of the varieties evaluated had all the desired traits and qualities sought

PANCIT CANTON, made from squash flour, is now available in supermarkets and big groceries. Naturally fortified with Vitamin A, products made from squash have distinctive taste which enlivens the erstwhile ‘common’ merienda and even main courses.
PHOTO: FACRUZ

for processing. The researchers, however, identified five varieties that can be used in developing squash-based products. Suprema 1 and 2, hybrid varieties released by the East-West Seed Company, can be used for frozen squash slices for ready-to-cook vegetable packages. The San Marcelino variety from Zambales was found suitable for making puree which can be used as ingredient in veggie drinks. This and another variety

called Tinuning from Pampanga can also be made into flour. The variety Acc 206-1 from the National Plant Genetic Resources Laboratory in UPLB scored highest in total soluble solids present. The study made by Dr. Mabesa and Mr. Tan was part of a project funded by the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR). The project’s aims were to collect squash germplasm and develop varieties for the food processing industry. (Florante A. Cruz) ■
Volume 1 Number 2 May - October 2009

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RESEARCH UPDATES

Pesticide use in coconut against leaf beetle is safe

I

n a recent study by pesticide toxicologists at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), the injection of neonicotenoid pesticides such as thiametoxam, imidachloprid and clothianidin in coconut trunks was found safe and effective in controlling the coconut leaf beetle (Brontispa longgisima). Brontispa is a serious pest of coconut in the Philippines, having attacked more than 1.6 million coconut trees nationwide. Two years ago, 26 provinces were quarantined due to infestation to save the coconut industry—a vital component of the export economy. Because of the emergency situation then, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) initially recommended the injection of pesticide into the trunks of coconut trees in areas with severe and widespread infestation. However, the said chemicals were not yet registered for use in the country. Thus, Dr. Leonila M. Varca and Mr. Lorenzo E. Fabro of UPLB’s College of Agriculture-Crop Science Cluster, in cooperation with the PCA in Quezon province, determined whether toxic substances were present in food products derived from coconuts given trunk injections of pesticide. According to the group’s study, the pesticides, when administered correctly, was effective against the larva and adult of the coconut leaf beetle. There was a need though to reapply the pesticides after 30 days in order to protect the coconut longer, thus raising concerns on possible toxicity of coconut products. The researchers’ results showed that the coconut water and coconut milk derived from trees 60 days after injection did not have any pesticide residue, and thus safe

PHOTO: Dorsal view of Brontispa longgisma, Cameron Brumley, padil.gov.au

BRONTISPA LONGGISIMA, commonly known as the coconut leaf beetle, can cause significant damage to coconut plantations. Photo shows a specimen measuring about 10mm in length.

to consume. Processing the coconut into ordinary and virgin coconut oil, meanwhile, reduced pesticide concentration by as much as 100%. The project, funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), also noted that the said pesticides have no effect on the common earwig (Chelisoches morio)—the natural enemy of the coconut leaf beetle. (Rosario G. Gabatin and Florante A. Cruz) ■

COCONUT, a main produce of the Philippines, contributes significantly to the export economy.
PHOTO: commons.wikipedia.org

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University of the Philippines Los Baños Research, Development and Extension Digest

RESEARCH UPDATES

Grafting technique reduces incidence of bacterial wilt in eggplant, researchers noted

I

ncreased yield, as a consequence of reduced bacterial wilt infection highlighted the results obtained by researchers who studied grafting techniques in eggplant production. Project leader, Dr. Nenita L. Opina of the Crop Science Cluster of the College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), indicated that incidence of bactetial wilt in eggplant is reduced when high-yielding, susceptible commercial varieties of eggplant were grafted with rootstocks resistant to bacterial wilt. She added, however, that the degree of resistance showed by grafted plants was dependent on the level of resistance of the rootstocks. Bacterial wilt, caused by Ralstonia solanacearum, limits eggplant production in the tropics. In a recent survey done by Dr. Opina, bacterial wilt incidence ranged from 15-30% and 95% in resistant cultivars and susceptible high-yielding commercial varieties of eggplant, respectively. Thus the project entitled “Influence of host resistance and grafting on the incidence of bacterial wilt in eggplant,” funded by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), was conducted in farmer’s fields with natural occurrence of bacterial wilt. The locations were in farms in Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, and Batangas and nurseries of UPLB and PhilRice. The high-yielding commercial varieties included in the research were Casino 901 and Bulakeña Long Purple (BLP), while farmer’s variety Nueva Ecija Green (NEG) and Abar were used as scion. Bacterial wilt resistant varieties used as rootstocks were Eg 203, Eg 195, S 69 and moderately resistant cultivars 89002 and A 300.

BACKGROUND PHOTO: commons.wikipedia.org, INSET PHOTOS: Courtesy of NLOPINA

Mestisa

Eg 203

Casino

EGGPLANT can be grafted to rootstocks which have higher resistance to bacterial wilt infection.

Findings revealed that susceptible Casino 901 varieties have significantly lower bacterial wilt infection when grafted to rootstocks Eg 203 and 89-002. On the other hand, Abar variety when grafted to Eg 203 failed to reduce bacterial wilt infection in UPLB nursery but not in PhilRice nursery where the infection reduction was found significant. Meanwhile, commercial variety BLP showed significant infection reduction

when grafted with Eg 203 in PhilRice nursery but not significant in UPLB nursery, but results were significant when BLP was grafted to 89-002 in both nurseries. In farmer’s fields, highly susceptible NEG when grafted to Eg-203, 89-002, A 300, Eg 195 and S69 gave significant decrease in bacterial wilt infection by 46100% in the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan and Batangas, resulting to increase in eggplant yield. (Rosario G. Gabatin) ■
Volume 1 Number 2 May - October 2009

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RESEARCH UPDATES
PHOTO: commons.wikipedia.org

Batangas mangroves help fight against global warming
Besides being coastline protectors, mangrove forests are one of the most promising carbon sequesters, having the highest carbon net productivity among all ecosystems. By capturing carbon dioxide and storing it in its biomass, mangrove species are able to reduce the amount of excess carbon in the air, thereby lessening global warming. Forest researchers Dixon T. Gevaña, Dr. Florencia B. Pulhin and Prof. Nelson M. Pampolina of the UPLB College Forestry and Natural

Resources (CFNR) recently assessed the capability of mangrove forests to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas which contributes as much as 26% to the greenhouse effect. In an article entitled “Carbon Stock Assessment of a Mangrove Ecosystem in San Juan, Batangas” published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Management ( JESAM), the UPLB researchers mentioned two mangrove systems in San Juan, Batangas: in Barangays Potcol and Catmon, where 100 ha are planted to mangroves. In these sites, the Bakawan (Rhizophora sp.), Tabigi (Xylocarpus granatum), and ( Bungalon (Avicennia marina) are the (

most dominant mangrove species. According to the research team’s report, San Juan’s mangrove forests can store about 13,000 tons of carbon—already a huge quantity absorbed and not trapped in the atmosphere. San Juan’s mangrove forests serve as very good “carbon sinks,” thus the local government unit should continue to preserve and protect the forests. The researchers estimated that if one-third of San Juan’s coastal area is converted to mangrove forests, the carbon that may be mitigated can reach up to 25,652 tons. (Schenley Anne A. Belmonte, Rosario G. Gabatin and Florante A. Cruz) ■
PHOTO: FACRUZ

Search for biofuels continues at UPLB
RA 9367 or the Biofuels Act of 2007 mandates the blending of at least 2% biodiesel and 5% bioethanol by volume to diesel and gasoline, respectively. Will the country be prepared to meet its biofuel requirement in 2014 of about 537M liters of bioethanol a year? To help the country achieve such goal, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) has been in continuous search for sources of alternative fuel to address the country’s energy needs. According to Prof. Rex B. Demafelis, professor at the College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology, various units in the university are now

collaborating in the area of biofuels research. Prof. Demafelis heads the UPLB Alternative Energy RDE Program. Prof. Demafelis shared that the College of Agriculture’s Crop Science Cluster is currently developing sweet sorghum germplasm it has acquired from India for bioethanol. Meanwhile, BIOTECH has already begun studying the possible use of wood, grass and agricultural byproducts as sources of bioethanol. The College of Foresty and Natural Resources, on the other hand, is doing tissue culture studies on Jatropha. Since the potential economic advantages which can be derived from Jatropha maybe higher than using other sources, the government has given special interest in developing biodiesel from Jatropha.

According to Prof. Demafelis, biodiesel production using Jatropha is favored over coconut because the latter has higher market demand as food, health and beauty care products. However, he raised the importantance for more studies on the effect of massive cultivation of Jatropha on the environment, asking scientists to further study the toxicity issues haunting Jatropha production. Prof. Demafelis stressed that new sources of ‘green fuel’ should now be considered. He said that the macroalgae Sargassum can be used to produce bioethanol while forest species such as bani and bitaog have the potential as biodiesel feedstocks. He also added that the microalgae Chlorella vulgaris can be developed into a biodiesel feedstock. ( (Mae Ann F. Bulang, Rosario G. Gabatin and Florante A. Cruz) ■

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University of the Philippines Los Baños Research, Development and Extension Digest

RESEARCH UPDATES

Biotech project to revive duck industry underway

BY DON CARLO P. LEJANO

ith the problems on production and genetic deterioration facing the Philippine mallard duck industry, a biotechnology project funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) is being cooked up to revive this once profitable business. Mallard duck production in the Philippines is a big industry dominated by small- and medium- scale commercial producers. It used to be the major source of income of people living along the shorelines of Laguna Lake which straddles between the provinces of Laguna and Rizal. Declining aquatic resources such as snails and fishes and the pollution of Laguna Lake, however, have been culprits for the decline in the production and genetic diversity of ducks in the areas. To cope with limited food sources, producers have resorted to herding ducks in rice paddies and mixing uncoventional but cheaper feed ingredients. This has resulted to low quality products such as duck meat and eggs.

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PHOTOS: FACRUZ

To help the duck industry recover, the Animal and Dairy Sciences Cluster (ADSC) of the College of Agriculture in University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) in collaboration with the National Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center (NSPRDC) based in Tiaong, Quezon proposed the project, “Applied Animal Biotechnology for the Improvement of Philippine Mallard Duck.” Proponents of this biotech initiative are Dr. Renato S. Vega, Dr. Angel L. Lambio, and Dr. Severino S. Capitan. The main goal of this undertaking is to improve the Philippine mallard duck’s genetic resource and determine the effect of feed and water environmental residues on duck-egg production. This project is focused on three areas of study, namely: 1. morphological and molecular characterization of mallard ducks, 2. age-related changes in plasma cortisol, estradiol, and vitellogenin of mallard ducks, and 3. effect of organochlorine and cadmium levels in feeds on the reproductive performance of mallard ducks.

Duck sampling, DNA/physical characterization, water and feed residue analysis, and blood vitellogenin assay system are among the activities to be accomplished in this project. Expected outputs include DNA fingerprints of various ducks, a breeding program, and a protocol to measure endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs are exogenous substances that alter the function of the endocrine system and result to adverse effects in an intact organism. These substances stimulate the duck’s liver to release vitellogenin into the blood, which can then be measured to serve as indicator of environmental pollution in an ecosystem. Some of the common EDCs are natural and synthetic hormones, plant constituents, organochlorines, compounds used in plastics and consumer products, and other industrial by-products and pollutants. The three-year project is now on its preimplementation stage. ■
This article is originally published in the Department of AgricultureBureau of Agricultural Research Website (http://www.bar.gov.ph)

Volume 1 Number 2 May - October 2009

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EXTENSION UPDATES
MAG-AGRI TAYO Executive Producer Patrick Daffon (left) captures the interview of CSC-CA’s Dr. Artemio Salazar (right), principal breeder of the new High Yield and Protein (YAP) corn or IPB Var 6.

Training on managing water resources conducted for Cambantoc watershed stakeholders
Farmers and members of the community residing in the Cambantoc watershed of the Mt. Makiling Forest Reserve (MFR) participated in a training seminar conducted by the UPLB College of Forestry and Natural Resources last June 3-4 in Sta. Cruz, Laguna. According to Dr. Portia Lapitan, who spearheads the project on “Communitybased watershed management approach in improving livelihood opportunities in Cambantoc,” the participants were taught soil and water conservation technologies during the training. “The participants were taught how to make rainwater harvesting structures. The structures will enable farmers to collect and store run-off water for irrigation purposes during the dry periods,” Dr. Lapitan shared. The project has been mobilizing the community and building its capability to conserve the resources of Cambantoc as part of its objectives to improve the well-being of people in the watershed. The forest reserve, Dr. Lapitan said, is in danger because of over-exploitation and natural calamities. Thus, it is important for people to preserve the environment. An important component of the environment, the Cambantoc watershed comprises 35% of the total land area of the MFR and drains its waters into the Laguna Lake. Aside from being a main source of water of several communities around Mt. Makiling, the watershed provides a significant source of livelihood for upland dwellers. ( (Miraflor E. Castor and Florante Cruz) ■

PHOTO: EAGRON/ DA-BAR

UPLB technologies to air in NBN Channel 4’s “Mag-Agri Tayo”
Los Baños televiewers are in for a treat from August to October as UPLB researchers and their feats will be featured in “Mag-Agri Tayo,” an agricultureoriented program produced by the FARM Foundation and aired every Saturday, 9-10 AM in NBN Channel 4. Vice-Chancellor for Research and Extension Dr. Enrico P. Supangco stated that UPLB has received assistance from the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) through its Applied Communication Division to disseminate and promote UPLB’s technologies via national television through the said program. “Three UPLB projects, namely SNAP hydroponics, ubi powder and an extension program in Mt. Makiling’s Dampalit watershed have already been featured in Mag-Agri Tayo last July 11 and 18,” Dr. Supangco shared. UPLB’s project on SNAP hydroponics is coordinated and monitored by DABAR’s Program Development Unit while the ubi powder and Dampalit projects are under the National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP), which is one of the flagship programs of the bureau. “We are glad to be of assistance in UPLB’s ongoing thrusts to promote itself and its achievements, especially now that it is UPLB’s Centennial Year,” DA-BAR’s Executive Director Nicomedes P. Eleazar said. Three more UPLB projects had already been documented by Mag-Agri Tayo and DA-BAR through the OVCRE’s Research Utilization and Dissemination Section. These are: 1) ornamental fish production at the UPLB Limnological Research Station, 2) Biocon Trichoderma technology of the Institute of Biological SciencesCollege of Arts and Sciences, and the 3) breeding, production and use of high yield and protein (YAP) corn of the Crop Science Cluster-College of Agriculture. Seven other features are currently being lined up for shooting. So, watch out every Saturday mornings, sit tight and turn on your TV sets to MagAgri Tayo and see some of UPLB’s products and services and the people working hard behind them. (Florante A. Cruz) ■
University of the Philippines Los Baños Research, Development and Extension Digest

14

EXTENSION UPDATES
PHOTO: FACRUZ

SESAM monitors environmental risks around Mt. Makiling, starts educating communities
The School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM) has taken a proactive role in communicating environmental risks which abound in Mt. Makiling—a dormant volcano where landslides killed a number of people when Typhoon Milenyo struck Los Baños in 2006. This was disclosed by SESAM Dean Dr. Ma. Victoria O. Espaldon during a seminar on disaster mitigation last June 26 for officials of 10 barangays located at the foothills of Mt. Makiling. According to Dean Espaldon, there was a need to design an effective risk communication plan which can be easily understood by those residing in Mt. Makiling’s slopes. Thus, SESAM has been in the process of planning a protocol which would timely monitor and disseminate environmental risks, as well as a quick response
MT. MAKILING, viewed from the top of the UPLB Carillon, is being threatened by climate change and irresponsible use of people who eke out their living on and near its slopes.

mechanism which will be implemented during disaster situations. Aside from using surveys to develop an information database, SESAM has been using global positioning systems, participatory geographic information systems, and participatory 3D modelling to combine the people’s knowledge and experiences to come up with relief models of Mt. Makiling which indicate the location of disaster-prone areas. The relief models, according to Engr. Marisa J. Sobremisana of SESAM, aside from storing data, will be an effective visual medium to inform people about the status of Mt. Makiling as haven for dwellers. Aside from visiting and assessing the disaster-prone communities in the Mechanization Development Program (AMDP) last June 29, 2009. “We conducted the symposium to expose our technologies to farmers, students, and even our colleagues in the university,” stated Engr. Mario Bueno of the AMDP. Aside from this, the activity also served as venue for stakeholders to assess the potential of the various technologies. Based at UPLB’s College of Engineering and Agro-industrial Technology, AMDP has developed and promoted technology packages for various commodities such as corn, vegetables, coconut, and cassava. The program has also come up with technologies for farm power, irrigation and waste processing.

mountain, the project has already been able to facilitate the installation of a rain gauge in Bagong Silang in Mt. Makiling under the READY project being implemented by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). SESAM’s initiatives on disaster mitigation are being assisted by DOST-PAG-ASA, the UPLB Office of Vice-Chancellor for Community Affairs, Los Baños Science Community Foundation, Inc., National Disaster Coordinating Council, Mines and Geosciences Bureau, and the various local government units of towns and barangays around Mt. Makiling. (Jennifer D. De Pasion, Rosario G. Gabatin and Florante A. Cruz) ■ During the symposium, more than a dozen researchers presented the results of their studies aimed at mechanizing corn and high value commercial crops production. Machinery for renewable energy production, particularly for Jatropha, were also discussed. Engr. Ronel Pangan, also of the AMDP, shared that “interested farmers can avail of high-quality and efficient farm machinery from our accredited manufacturers, who get the designs and specifications from the program.” “This way,” he concluded, “we hope to hasten the delivery of the technologies to farmers.” (Florante A. Cruz, with reports from Leila Denisse E. Padilla and Maria Janelle L. Cantong) ■
Volume 1 Number 2 May - October 2009

New farm and renewable energy machinery introduced
Multi-crop pneumatic seeder with fertilizer applicator, corn milling system, cylindrical soil sterilizing chamber, windmill for irrigation, multi-crop washer, Jatropha oil expeller, Jatropha post-production machinery, Rice hull/ corn cob furnace. These are just some of the new technologies developed by UPLB engineers to mechanize agricultural production and further the development of the biofuel industry, presented during a symposium held by the Agricultural

15

FEATURED RESEARCH

Store Jatropha seeds properly to wield high germination—UPLB study bares
BY FLORANTE A. CRUZ
PHOTOS: Courtesy of LEPDGUZMAN

New Jatropha seeds

Old Jatropha seeds

Germinated Jatropha seeds

armers and businessmen in the Philippines have scrambled planting the Physic Nut ( (Jatropha curcas), a biofuel crop seen having big potential returns once the mandatory use of biodiesel is fully implemented in the country. However, some of those who have gone full steam ahead establishing farms are now plagued with problems, one of which is seed storage. In a report by UPLB crop scientists Lucille Elna Parreño-de Guzman and Annalisa L. Aquino of the Crop Science Cluster – College of Agriculture, optimum storage should be given to Jatropha seeds because of the country’s high temperature and relative humidity. Otherwise, seeds kept in normal room conditions will easily rot because of its high oil content.

F

Jatropha seed with exposed kernel

Jatropha seed embryo

Normal, abnormal Jatropha seedlings; dead seeds

Although information exists on how well Jatropha thrives in marginal areas, almost none is known on its seed’s storage behavior under Philippine conditions. Thus, the researchers conducted a study to characterize the seed of Jatropha and determine its storage behavior. Based on experiments’ report, storage temperature did not affect the germination of Jatropha seeds. However, germination was influenced by moisture content and storage time. Thus, those planning to venture into Jatropha production should take note— proper storage of good quality Jatropha seeds result to better germination ideal for planting. De Guzman and Aquino recommended that Jatropha seeds should be dried to 4-5% moisture content and sealed in

moisture-proof containers, to ensure little reduction in percent germination. For those who cannot invest in special containers such as aluminum foil packs, they can just store the Jatropha seeds in simple containers such as bottles or biscuit tin cans with the covers sealed with wax or candle, and at ambient temperature. Moreover, seeds should be dried first to 6-8% and stored immediately after harvest. The researchers observed in their experiment that under normal room conditions, seeds packed inside net bags or sacks had a 20% decrease in germination rate if storage was delayed. The delay would also reduce germination further by 25% after 6 months of storage. ■

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University of the Philippines Los Baños Research, Development and Extension Digest

FEATURED RDE PROGRAM

PHOTO: EAGRON/ DA-BAR

BY FLORANTE A. CRUZ

I

Freshwater fishes get to ride in “fish ark”
Dr. Paller has already collected 26 different fish species, 14 of which are very small (50-100mm in length). Two of the fish species are native, while another two are endemic species with good potential for captive breeding. Project “Fish Ark Philippines” is funded by the Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAMRD). It also aims to survey freshwater fishes found in the vicinity of Mt. Banahaw (Quezon), Taal Volcano (Batangas), Mt. Isarog, Iriga-Masaraga Mountain Range and Bulusan Volcano (Bicol Region). Dr. Paller and Dr. Ocampo are specialists in paritology (fish parasites) and zoology, respectively, at UPLB. ■
Volume 1 Number 2 May - October 2009

n the Old Testament, Noah built an ark, unknowing if the rains would ever come, he entrusted his fate with God.

Limnology experts at the University of the Philippines Los Baños have turned themselves into little Noahs, building “arks” to provide a haven to our native and endemic freshwater fishes. The collected fishes, according to Dr. Vachel Gay Paller of the UPLB Limnological Research Station (UPLB LRS), will be part of the “Fish Ark Philippines”—a project aimed to study and conserve these erstwhile untapped resources. Although the Philippines is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world, little is known about its many natural resources.

Almost absent is the information on the status of the Philippines’ small endemic freshwater fishes, even though there are at least 20 species known inhabiting the southern portion of Luzon Island. Dr. Pablo Ocampo, head of the UPLB LRS and at the helm of the Fish Ark Philippines project, recently reported that small freshwater fishes in three watersheds areas in the Makiling Forest Reserve and Lake Tadlac in Los Baños, Laguna have been documented and collected in 2008. Fishes have also been collected from the Pansipit River and Ambon-ambon Falls in Batangas province. Aside from collecting the fish specimens, the study group, led by Dr. Paller, was able to study the habitats of the fish sampled.

17

FEATURED TECHNOLOGY

Guide for soil series identification comes to cellphones
BY EMERSON JOHN LOZANTA, ROSARIO G. GABATIN AND FLORANTE A. CRUZ
PHOTO: FACRUZ

W

hen an agricultural technician is out in the field, without a library or laboratory in sight, how does one answer the farmers’ question: “What type of soil does my farm have?” Now, technicians need not have to get and bring soil samples to their offices or laboratory for soil identification. Agitated farmers who wait for days to hear the news are now appeased. With communication technology, soil identification can now be made anytime and anywhere, just by using mobile phones. According to Dr. Rodrigo B. Badayos, director of the Agricultural Systems Cluster of the College of Agriculture, his team have recently converted a picture guidebook, available in the past in printed and compact-disc form, into a program which can be viewed by using a cellphone. The guidebook is a product of Dr. Badayos completed project on “Simplification of the Philippine Soil Series Identification for Rice and Corn Cultivars ” funded by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice). Dr. Badayos said that the guidebook was programmed for cellphones by Prof. Moises A. Dorado of the College of Engineering and Agro-industrial Technology (CEAT). The first version of the cellphone-based guidebook, covering topics on how to identify soil types, has already been released and introduced to prospective beneficiaries in Isabela mid last year.
CELLULAR PHONES and other gadgets are set to become tools for agricultural development and not only as modes of communication, as people in the countryside are taken to mobile connectivity.

According to Dr. Badayos, the users were excited to bring their “soil identification guide-equipped cellphone” to the field. Although some expressed their preference for bigger pictures of the soil series, the technology was adjudged by the Isabela beneficiaries as convenient, handy and most important of all, usable.

The second version of the cellphonebased guidebook is now being developed. According to Prof. Dorado, they are now adding more information, such as soil descriptions, into the program. He shared that they are now doing several tests to ensure the program’s efficiency. ■

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University of the Philippines Los Baños Research, Development and Extension Digest

PHOTO NEWS
BY FLORANTE A. CRUZ

◄ High Yield and Protein (YAP) corn, an IPB corn variety named in honor of the Agriculture Secretary is presented last July 10 to the Hon. Arthur C. Yap (3rd from left). YAP corn or IPB Var 6 is a white openpollinated corn variety containing high lysine and tryptophan and bred principally by Dr. Artemio M. Salazar of the Crop Science Cluster (CSC) of the College of Agriculture (CA). In photo op during the presentation are (from left to right): Dr. Artemio Salazar; CSC Director Dr. Jose E. Hernandez, Sec. Arthur C. Yap, UPLB Chancellor Luis Rey I. Velasco, CA Dean Dr. Domingo E. Angeles and National Academy of Science and Technology President Dr. Emil Q. Javier.

▲PhilHybrid Inc., a lessor at the UPLB Science and Technology Park, plans to expand its greenhouse operations. PhilHybrid produces tissue-culture makapuno seedlings and other products.

▲Dr. Pio A. Javier, Research Associate Professor at the Crop Protection Cluster discusses some points on the physical control of pests of crops during the “Refresher Course on Pest and Disease Diagnosis and Management in Rice, Corn, Vegetables and Mango” held last June 1, 2009 at the National Crop Protection Center complex. More than two dozen participants, mostly, agricultural technicians and researchers, attended the refresher course.

▲UPLB’s Ubi powder now sports a box packaging and trademark “FST Foods” thanks to the funding assistance of the National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP) of the Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR).

▲High school students get to extract their own DNAs during the Los Baños Science Festival last July 22 - 24 at the Baker Hall.

Volume 1 Number 2 May - October 2009

19

PHOTO NEWS
BY FLORANTE A. CRUZ

▲ Visitors flock the booth of UPLB and UPLB Foundation, Inc. during the 5th Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Commercialization Forum and Exhibit at the SM MegaTrade Hall 3 from August 27-30. UPLB displayed and sold its various products: biofertilizers, honey-based products, dairy milk and white soft cheese, SNAP hydroponics, YAP corn, ubi powder, and various publications. The UPLBFI, meanwhile, sold UPLB memorabilia items such as books and posters.

▲ Prof. Edmund G. Centeno of the College of Development Communication discusses “information chunking” during the Seminar-Workshop on “Research Project Implementation and Management” held by the OVCRE last August 24.

▲ Chancellor Luis Rey I. Velasco (2nd from left) talks with SEARCA Director Gil L. Saguiguit (leftmost) and DA-BAR Director Nicomedes P. Eleazar (right) during the exhibit opening on August 27.

▲ Vice-Chancellor Enrico P. Supangco (center) leads participants from various colleges and units of the university during the photosession ending the seminarworkshop on “Research Project Implementation and Management.”

Official Research, Development and Extension Newsletter of the University of the Philippines Los Baños

The RDE Digest
managing editor/ layout
Florante A. Cruz Rosario G. Gabatin Florante A. Cruz

is published semi-annually by the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Research and Extension (OVCRE), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). It is released every April and October each year, in time for the UPLB Commencement Exercises and UPLB Loyalty Day, respectively. Otherwise stated, articles appearing in every issue are selected from those which have already been published online at the UPLB RDE News Website [http://rdenews.uplb.edu.ph]. Contributions related to research and extension from UPLB faculty and staff are welcome. Please send manuscripts and digital photographs via email: ovcre@uplb.edu.ph. Comments on the published content can also be sent through the same email address. Requests for use of content for publication should be addressed to the Editors. For inquiries, please contact us at: Research Utilization and Dissemination Section OVCRE Building, Kanluran cor. Lanzones Roads, UPLB, College, Laguna 4031 Philippines Tel. No. (63) 49 536-2354; Email: ovcre@uplb.edu.ph.

The RDE Digest

writers/ editors contributors

Blesilda M. Calub • Kennedy Serafica Schenley Anne A. Belmonte • Don Carlo P. Lejano Miraflor E. Castor • Jennifer D. De Pasion Leila Denisse E. Padilla • Maria Janelle L. Cantong Emerson John Lozanta • John Benedict Ricarte Mae Ann F. Bulang

production/ circulation
Evelyn E. Bite • Renato E. Apolinario, Jr. Alex C. Genil

advisers
Enrico P. Supangco • Moises A. Dorado, Jr.

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University of the Philippines Los Baños Research, Development and Extension Digest

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