Biotech Updates

Domestic Biotech Innovations to Aid Philippine Agri and Aquaculture

March 22, 2023

The Philippines has been at the forefront of the Southeast Asian region when it comes to biotechnology applications and regulations. Two Filipino scientists showcased their research in the recently concluded ISAAA webinar on March 16, 2023, which featured microbial stimulant for plants and mudfish spawning technology that farmers in the Philippines can use to enhance yield production.

BioMeg is a microbial inoculant containing Bacillus megaterium as the active ingredient. It was developed by researchers from the Visayas State University in Baybay City, Philippines led by its project leader and University President Dr. Edgardo Tulin. BioMeg is intended for sweet potato and purple yam production to increase yield and improve nutritional quality. Dr. Tulin explained that only a small trace amount of BioMeg needs to be applied a few days after planting to achieve the desired benefit. The expected yield increase in crop production will translate into a corresponding increase in income and provide a sustainable livelihood for our farmers. This is especially important as farmers face challenges related to food production security, climate change, and global competitiveness.

Induced spawning mudfish, or dalag as it is commonly known in the Philippines, was also discussed during the webinar by Dr. Casiano Choresca, Chief of the Fisheries Biotechnology Center in the Science City of Muñoz, Philippines. He said that this particular fish technology offers a straightforward, smart, and efficient approach to increasing fisheries and aquaculture production. Like BioMeg, the intention of the technique is to increase both product yield and income for fish farmers. Dr. Choresca discussed that it can be done easily and does not require expensive equipment. The technique also removes uncertainties in breeder spawning, allows fry production for hatchery or grow-out even during off-season, and offers a more controlled hatchery or aquaculture operations. Overall, induced fish spawning helps address food security, reduces dependence on wild stocks, and alleviates the sharp decline of the fish population due to overfishing.

The presentations were followed by an open forum wherein more than 300 attendees listened to the speakers' answers to the questions posted by selected members of the audience. The webinar was moderated by ISAAA Inc. Executive Director Dr. Rhodora Romero-Aldemita, who also gave the welcome remarks. The event was closed by Dr. Claro Mingala, Program Director of the Philippine Agriculture and Fisheries Biotechnology Program.

Watch the webinar on-demand in ISAAA webinars.

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