Science Speaks - Blog by ISAAA

Pinoy Biotek Goes Live On Radio

By Lucille Grace Punzalan
November 8, 2023

Radio is one of the most accessible platforms in the Philippines because it can reach even the far-flung areas in the country. When coupled with the internet, it becomes a very powerful tool to connect with various stakeholders.

As part of the Pinoy Biotek project of ISAAA Inc., in partnership with the Philippine Agriculture and Fisheries Biotechnology Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA Biotech Program), Biotech-on-air was launched. It is a radio segment that features Filipino researchers who have developed biotech innovations for the Filipinos. 

The segment has been aired in various radio programs including Pinoy Scientist on Radyo Agila DZEC hosted by Dr. Josephine D. Agapito, Boses ng Magsasaka by Ms. Cathy Cruz, and Syensya Na Tekno Pa by Ms. Melly Tenorio. This article highlights the important points discussed in the radio interviews.


Biotech in the Philippines

Dr. Rhodora Romero-Aldemita, Executive Director of ISAAA Inc., introduced the Pinoy Biotek project on August 13, 2023 at the Pinoy Scientist radio program. She shared the importance of the project by stating, "There are biotechnologies and biotech products developed by Filipino scientists that need to be made known to the global community to help farmers in their food security endeavors.”

In another interview on October 7, 2023, Dr. Aldemita discussed the state of biotechnology in the Philippines at Syensya Na Tekno Pa radio program. According to her, the Philippines is the leading country in Southeast Asia in terms of biotech crop adoption. The Philippines approved the planting of Bt corn in 2002, and the farmers are already seeing the benefits of the product. Since there are other biotech crops that were recently approved for planting, she urged everyone to give biotechnology a chance.

Mudfish Spawning Technology 

Dr. Casiano Choresca Jr., Chief of the DA Fisheries Biotechnology Center, was interviewed about Mudfish Induced Spawning Technology on September 10, 2023 at the Pinoy Scientist radio program. He explained how they came up with the project, how the technology works, and its importance and impact on aquaculture. Dr. Choresca also mentioned that it’s important to support and empower researchers and people who work in fisheries and aquaculture because they will help with the development of our country. 

Detection Protocols for Abaca Viruses 

Dr. Leny Galvez, Head of the Immunology and Molecular Biology Laboratory at the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority, discussed the Detection Protocols for Abaca Viruses at the Boses ng Magsasaka radio program on September 23, 2023. She shared about the daily uses of abaca, as well as how their technology helps detect abaca viruses.

The commonly utilized technology is the LAMP kit, which is rapid and simple because detection depends on the changing of colors. Dr. Galvez highlighted the importance of their biotechnology by stating that "Farmers are empowered because they realize that they can identify if their plants are sick using the detection protocols." 

BioMeg for Crops 

Dr. Edgardo Tulin, President of Visayas State University, shared about BioMeg on October 8, 2023 at the Pinoy Scientist radio program. BioMeg is a microbial inoculant for yield and nutritional improvement of crops such as sweet potato and purple yam. This biotechnology is organic-based and environmentally friendly because no chemicals are used in its production. 

Dr Tulin explained that farmers only need to apply a small amount of BioMeg to the crops a few days after planting, and it will increase the yield and enhance the nutritional quality of the plants. The expected increase in crop yield will produce a corresponding increase in income and offer a sustainable livelihood for the farmers. The net income from crops that used BioMeg is about 3 to 4 times higher than the normal yield.

Propagation Technology for Makapuno 

Ms. Maria Buena Ubaldo, Senior Science Research Specialist at the Philippine Coconut Authority - Albay Research Center, discussed makapuno and the technology that can be used for its propagation. The interview was aired on October 28, 2023 at Boses ng Magsasaka radio program. 

In makapuno embryo culture technology, the researchers take the embryo of makapuno and disinfect it. They will then plant the embryo in a test tube or bottle that contains the chemical mixture. It will be grown in the laboratory for 4 to 8 months.

When the seedling already has three leaves and plenty of roots, it will be transferred to the nursery and planted on the ground with coir dust and fiber. It will be grown in the nursery for another 6 to 8 months to make it ready for field planting. The technology will help boost the income of local farmers, producers, and entrepreneurs who need makapuno. 

More Pinoy Biotek projects will be aired through Biotech-on-air soon. Follow the Pinoy Biotek Facebook Page for the upcoming schedules. To learn more about biotech in the Philippines, visit the resource page here.

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