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BAR supports research to explore other uses of onion

DSC 2745nion is a popular and commonly used main ingredient or condiments in every cuisine including as appetizer such as “onion rings”. But beyond its common use as fresh ingredients in preparing our foods, onion has other potential uses.

In response to the directives of Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol to explore possible research interventions to use and process onion leaves and shallots instead of seeds for onion production, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) convened a meeting to discuss possible researchable areas or projects.

First step taken was to have the onion leaves submitted by DA-Regional Field Office III analyzed for pesticide residues upon the concern of the heavy use of pesticide during onion crop production. The Bureau Plant Industry-Pesticide Analytical Laboratory Section (BPI-PALS) conducted a chemical analysis for Chlorpyrifos, pesticide active ingredient. Result of the analysis obtained by Gas Liquid Chromatography showed that the sample submitted was lower than the Limit of Quantification (LOQ) to Chlorpyrifos (>0.01 mg/kg) Interpretation shows that analysis of samples was negative to Chlorpyrifos, which is the active ingredient of the pesticide used.

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BAR, as the research and coordinating agency of the Department of Agriculture, recently funded three projects on onion. These include: 1) Development and Promotion of Cost-Effective Seed Production Technology for Onion; 2) Increasing Farmers’ Income through the Utilization of Waste Onion; and 3) Development of Products from Onion Leaves towards Increased Farmers’ Income. The first project will be implemented by the University of the Philippine Los Baños (UPLB) while the other two projects will be led by the Central Luzon State University (CLSU).

The three projects will cover the development of cost effective seed production technologies for onion; development of POTs for the processing of onion leaves into different products such as powdered onion leaves, dried onion leaves, vacuum-packed onion leaves, extraction of bio-actives for health purposes, etc.; and development of onion carbonizer, briquette, and biochar out of onion leaves.

Furthermore, UPLB’s study aims to characterize and monitor the composition of waste onion leaves as potential raw material for food and other high-value products. This would be able to respond to the Secretary’s instruction to look into the potential of dehydrated onion leaves as condiment in arroz caldo, mami, and as spice in Oriental dishes. ###(Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino)