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BAR, UPLB 1st Philippine International Biomass Conference

2015-05-biomass-conferenceWith the theme, “Exploring the market potentials of biomass for bio-based fuels and energy”, the Interdisciplinary Biofuels Research Studies Center (IBRSC) of the University of the Philippines, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR), will be holding the “2015 Philippine International Biomass Conference” on June 16-18, 2015 at Widus Hotel and Casino, Clark Pampanga.

The three-day conference will serve as a venue for stakeholders to be more aware of the potentials of biomass for energy production. Discussions on the first and second day of the conference will include the status and market potentials of biomass in the country and will showcase cutting edge technologies which are commercially-competitive and financially-sustainable in the conversion to bio-based fuels and energy of agricultural and forestry crops and residues as well as municipal solid waste. There will be a field visit at San Jose City I Power Corporation on the third day to exhibit an actual power plant using biomass as feedstock.

Among the invited speakers from different countries include Dr. Jon Bennett, vice-president for Business Development for SDL Citadel, LLC (USA); Mr. Ryuichi Ikeda, sales division chief for SOL Asia Holdings (Japan); Mr. Hoong Chee Kean, business development manager for ABENGOA (Spain); and Dr. Anjan Ray, regional commercial director for Honeywell UOP (Canada). They will present their respective technologies and competitive business model in the production of power and fuels using biomass and municipal solid waste.

The event is expected to draw crowd from national and local investors specifically the agricultural sector (farmer groups and cooperatives), transportation sector, local and international bioenergy players, government agencies, local government units (LGUs), state universities and colleges (SUCs), research institutions, and major financial institutions.

The Philippines continuous efforts towards energy self-sufficiency led to the implementation of Republic Act 9367 (R.A. 9367) also known as The Biofuels Act of 2006 which mandates the blending of biofuels to all diesel and gasoline sold in the country. Biodiesel and ethanol have been recognized as very promising alternative fuels because their sources could be indigenous, sustainable and renewable.

In response to the mandate of R.A. 9367, UPLB formed an Alternative Energy RDE committee in July 2006 and created a roadmap on alternative biofuels feedstock that covers the period 2005-2020 which will include feedstock developments and conversion improvement (2005-2010), pre-commercial and commercial stages (2010-2015) and advanced by-product and waste utilization (2015-2020).

The DA crafted the DA Biofuel Feedstock Program involving those in the academe, research institutions, LGUs, and other stakeholders to mobilize and to lay the foundation and to forge its structures through the conduct of various research, development, and extension initiatives on biofuels initiatives in the country.

BAR, as one of the member agencies of the Program, is in charge of developing viable and quality biofuel feedstock through research and development (R&D). The bureau has been funding and coordinating 50 different projects on biofuels. BAR has been supporting R&D activities from the initial production to adaptability testing to full scale implementation to commercialization of the crop. BAR coordinates and channels efforts of key players and stakeholders under unified biofuels R&D plans, programs, and activities.

The UPLB- IBRSC serves as a national research and policy center to address the technical concerns of the newly emerging biofuels industry and the focal office for the repository of data and technology for the industry and different stakeholders. This leads to strengthened linkages among academic research institutions, government agencies, industries and private sectors through interdisciplinary exchange of information and collaborative research. (Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino and Lisa Stephanie H. Dizon)

Honey wine from Mount Arayat

Honey WineParties are definitely all over the place during Yuletide season. As some would say, every celebration is never complete without any liquor on a shot glass to say “cheers” with. No wonder imported wine is one of the best buy Christmas presents in supermarkets and liquor shops. However, researchers and other businessmen have explored the potentials of underutilized fruits and other commodities as raw materials in producing wines. Hence, consumers started to be curious and eventually patronized the locally-made wines.

Through the National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP) of the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), various stakeholders from the research stations of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and state universities and colleges (SUCs) were able to produce a variety of wines made from bignay, lipote, abiu, rambutan, pineapple, mango, guyabano, ybanag, arius, sapinit, duhat, tamarind, tambis, and sweet potato. The latest addition is wine from honey.

The Drink of love
Honey wine, also known as mead, is considered as the first alcoholic drink brewed by men, earlier than wine or beer, with alcohol level varying between7-15 percent. In Europe, honey is fermented to produce this beverage, thus, it was also called the "Nectar of the Gods" or "Drink of Love".

It was told that honey wine could have been produced by chance during the Stone Age when honey became wet from rain and wild yeast in the air settled into the mixture. For centuries, honey wine is widely-known as an aphrodisiac. In fact, the word "honeymoon" is believed to be derived from the ancient European custom of having newly-weds drink honey wine for a month in order to increase their fertility.

Honey wine is also taken as a health tonic drink as it has a good level of antioxidants. B-vitamins are also present which is a good energy booster. Another advantage of honey wine is it contains no gluten and therefore can be enjoyed by people with celiac disease or wheat sensitivities.

Imported honey wines are indeed expensive which ranges from US $10-30. In the case Philippines, honey wine is being sold to cater the high-end consumers.

PAC’s Newest Pride
From patronizing tamarind as their flagship commodity, the Pampanga Agricultural College (PAC) has begun to explore the market potentials of honey wine by producing their own.

According to Dr. Norman de Jesus of the Alternative Low Input Agriculture System Center (ALIAS Center) and professor at the Institute of Agriculture Systems and Technology Center of PAC, the selection of honey followed the standard guidelines. Honey wine processing is a series of confirmation steps specifically the racking, clarification and aging wherein the fermented mixture is being measured based on its alcohol reading, pH, degree brix and organoleptic test and have it transferred to another vessel.

PAC’s honey wine was raised following organic production systems or guidelines and is organically certified by Ecoland as the second party certifying body and Negros Island Certification Services (NICERT) as the third party certifying body.

“Honey wine is more on the sweet category. Whereas the commercially available honey wine is more on the dry side,” explained Dr. de Jesus. PAC’s Honey Wine is economically priced at PhP 200 per 750 ml.

To produce a wide variety of choices for its target consumers as well as to make the product as part of the income generating projects, the academe is planning to produce honey wine infused with herbs such as mint, basil, tarragon, and oregano with tamarind. When asked about their tagline for the product, Dr. de Jesus was proud to say that PAC’s version of honey wine came from “Honey from Mt. Arayat”. ### (Liza Angelica D. Barral)

For more information, please contact:
Norman de Jesus, PhD
Director, Alternative Low Input Agriculture System Cluster (ALIAS)
Professor IV, Institute of Agriculture System and Technology
Pamapanga Agricultural College (PAC)
Magalang, Pamapanga
Tel. No. (045) 343-4394
Cel No. 09285502561
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ilocos’ Garlic Miki, pancit with a twist

ilocos mikiPancit or pansit (noodles) is a constant dish among Filipinos. It has been introduced into the country by the Chinese and has since been adopted into the local cuisine. In fact, no birthday is complete without it. According to food lore (also handed down by the Chinese), pancit should be eaten present in every birthday as it represents long life and good health.

In lieu of its popularity, there are now varieties of pancit available in the market including sotanghon, bihon, canton, miki, among others. There are also various ways of preparing pancit that are unique in a given province such as the pancit habhab of Lucban, Quezon; batil patong of Tuguegarao; pancit bato of Bicol region, among others.

Another innovation that has been recently developed is the garlic-enriched dried miki noodles of the Ilocos region.

The garlic project
Pancit miki is an all-time favorite merienda enjoyed by the Ilocanos. A visit in Ilocos will not be completed without tasting their famous local delicacies, pancit miki.

Ilocanos’ pancit miki is often flavored with garlic. This is the reason why researchers from the Department of Agriculture – Ilocos Integrated Agricultural Research Station (DA-ILIARC), developed a noodle product that is already incorporated with garlic powder.

Garlic is an in demand ingredient in cooking as it provides flavor and aroma to the dish. It is also known for its medicinal properties which can treat a wide array of diseases. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, among its health benefits are: it is rich in antioxidants, it helps in weight management, it treats fungal infections of the skin, it can reduce blood pressure, and it can lessen the risk of acquiring atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and some types of cancers.

Ilocos is the major garlic-producing region in the country accounting to about 60-70 percent of the total’s country garlic production. Ilocos garlic is preferred variety as it is known for its distinct pungent and aromatic smell.

To support the garlic industry in Ilocos and to ensure that there will be ample supply of Ilocos garlic available in the market, the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), under its National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP), funded a project “Garlic Technology Commercialization in Region 1”. This initiative aims to help Ilocos garlic farmers to adopt new technologies on garlic farming and to boost their production and income.

To capture larger markets and to empower the garlic stakeholders, through creating agribusiness on garlic, the project also include as one of its components, garlic processing and other value-adding activities one of which is the product development of garlic-enriched miki. Other products include: garlic polvoron, garlic pickles, garlic powder, garlic flakes, and garlic chips.

The garlic miki, R&D style
The preparation of garlic-enriched miki is just like any other preparations of a regular miki. Among its ingredients are all-purpose flour, garlic powder, and water which will make up the dough. The dough is flatten and cut using a pasta cutter, and left to dry. The process is simple and can be done even at homes.

The DA-ILIARC partnered with the Association of Garlic Growers and Processors of Ilocos Norte, the beneficiary of the project wherein the technology on garlic processing was transferred. The Association makes used of the facilities of DA-ILIARC for garlic processing.

The garlic miki is being marketed at the local markets in Ilocos while the Association supplies the garlic miki to some food restaurants in Laoag City. To further promote the garlic miki and other garlic products, DA-ILIARC is joining various agricultural trade fairs and exhibitions including the BAR National Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Forum and Product Exhibitions held every August at SM Megamall.

The garlic-enriched miki is sold at Php 50 per 400 grams pack and can be stored for a year. ### (Diana Rose A. de Leon)

For more information, please contact,
Wilhelmina Castañeda
Project Leader
DA-ILIARC, Babatngon, La Union


Margarita Selga
Association of Garlic Growers and Processors of Ilocos Norte

AdSoy: Cereal meal and hot beverage in one nutritious blend

Adlai and SoyaFilipinos are becoming more health-conscious, thus the conclusion of a study conducted by Kantar Worldpanel, a leading provider of research-based information on shoppers’ purchase and usage behavior in several countries. The study, which covered 2,000 households in urban areas, showed that in the past 10 years (2001-2010), Filipinos were increasingly becoming health-conscious, with 93 percent, up from 83 percent in 2005, buying healthy foods in 2010. “Filipino consumers learned to read the labels, with 90 percent making sure they were getting really healthy foods before buying.” The study also found that convenience had become a valued consideration for Filipinos, with products such as ready-to-drink teas, coffees, and cereal beverages claiming at the top three spots.

Given the health-conscious trend among Filipinos, researchers from the Cordillera Administrative Region Integrated Agricultural Research Center (CIARC) of the Department of Agriculture (DA), developed a food product the combines both convenience and health benefits. They call it, “Adsoy Blend”.

Adsoy: 2-in-1 health product
“It could have been called “Adsoy” or “Solai” but the point is to come up with a name that will capture both commodities: adlay and soybean,” said Dr. Magdalena T. Wanawan, CIARC manager.

Adsoy is a cereal meal and a hot beverage rolled into one.

“Initially, the aim was to develop a product that targets the health-conscious Filipinos with great consideration on the ease of preparing it, especially to those people who are always on the go, always in a hurry. We developed Adsoy as a cereal meal and as a hot beverage. Getting the right consistency will depend on the amount of water and mixture,” explained Dr. Wanawan.

The main ingredients of Adsoy are roasted adlay grains and roasted soybeans. A dash of roasted sesame seeds was also added into the blend for flavor. “If you want to utilize Adsoy as cereal food, you have to add hot water, milk, and sugar to taste. If you want to use it as tea or hot beverage, you have to add more hot water or milk and sugar as preferred. We did not add sugar into the blend because some diabetic patients drink it without the sugar.”

According to Dr. Wanawan, Adsoy was developed in April 2014 and was first introduced to the public during the National Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Forum and Product Exhibition, organized by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) in August 2014 at SM Megatrade Hall, SM Megamall. Funding for this CIARC’s research initiative is part of the Adlay R&D fund from BAR.

Many products have been recently claiming the same thing, that they are both healthy and easy to prepare, what makes Adsoy different from these products? Dr. Wanawan revealed that, “Adsoy is organic! The blend contains adlay and soybeans which are both organically-grown here. Kami talaga sa CIARC ay maka-organic! [We at CIARC are into organic!]”.

Although, Adsoy has been already been introduced to the public through tech fora, Dr. Wanawan admitted that they are still perfecting the product in terms of taste and consistency. “We need to improve on the taste by conducting public taste test and also improve the product packaging,” said Dr. Wanawan.

Healthful benefits from AdSoy
“We developed it because of the health benefits from adlay and soybean. Both are high in nutrients, containing both energy and protein which are essential needs of our body. Another reason is that both crops are easy to grow and produce,” explained Dr. Wanawan.

Adlay, scientifically known as Coix lacryma-jobi L. belongs to the family Poaceae or the grasses, the same family to which wheat, corn, and rice belong. It produces good yield in areas where rice and corn hardly grow like the highlands. Just like rice, farmers grow adlay as their staple crop for its good eating quality. It bears tear-shape grains which when matured and are harvested, pounded, threshed, and winnowed, cooked and served steamed just like rice.

As a food source, adlay is as versatile as rice. It can be cooked and processed as main ingredient for Filipino food products including maja blanca and sinukmani. The grains can be ground into flour and used to make breads, pastas, and porridge.

Studies showed that eating 100 grams per serving of adlay, one is less likely to feel hungry after awhile compared to eating rice or corn. This is because adlay has the highest food energy content (356 kcal) compared to corn, white rice or brown rice. It is also superior to its staple counterparts when it comes to carbohydrate content (73.9 g), protein (12.8 g), and fat (1.0 g). Adlay is also packed with other minerals including calcium (25 mg), phosphorus (43.5 mg), iron (5 mg), niacin (4.3 mg), thiamine (0.28 mg), and riboflavin (0.19 mg).

The other component of Adsoy blend is the soybean, considered as a wonder crop due to its resilience, versatility, and its nutritive value. Locally known as utaw, it has been widely used to meet the protein need of Filipinos with a great potential in helping alleviate hunger and poverty in the country.

Soybean seeds contain approximately 40-45 percent protein, 20-25 percent edible vegetable oil, and a significant amount of vitamins A and E, as well as minerals and micronutrients making it a valuable component in many food items both for humans and for animals.

There is a widely-held public perception that eating soybeans can increase the risk of gout and can potentially trigger acute attacks for those already suffering from the disease. Most people believed this because beans are high in protein, concluding that consumption of high protein leads to high uric acid in the blood leading to gout. This is not true as revealed by numerous scientific studies. In fact, according to Elmer E. Enicola, researcher from the Institute of Plant Breeding, University of the Philippines Los Baños (IPB-UPLB), there is no reason why the public, with or without gout, should avoid eating soybeans and soy-based foods because they provide plentiful amounts of high-quality protein.

This health fact on soybean was reiterated by Rose Mary Aquino, senior agriculturist at the DA-Cagayan Valley Integrated Agricultural Research Center (CVIARC) in Region 2 citing that soybean is known as a good source of dietary fiber and it contains anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory factors, and components that aid in the prevention of osteoporosis, heart diseases, and diabetes.

Among the legumes, soybean has the highest protein content. Aside from its numerous health benefits, soybean is also an important crop in an agricultural system because of its capability to fixate nitrogen that is present in the air. “The symbiotic relationship between the nitrogen-fixing bacteria [in the root nodules] and the host legume plant provide nitrogen to the agricultural system,” explained Aquino. ### (Rita T. dela Cruz)

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Magdalena T. Wanawan
Manager/Adlay Project Leader
Cordillera Integrated Agricultural Research Center
Department of Agriculture-CAR
Baguio Dairy Farm, Sto. Tomas Rd., Baguio City
Tel No. (074) 443-8986
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

UP-MSI study reveals promising economic benefit of red algae

Who would have thought that an alga or lumut, which is sometimes being looked upon as an insignificant fishery resource, can be a potential raw material for food, medical, and pharmaceutical industries. Researchers claim that multicellular algae, such as red, brown, and some green algae, are important not only for food use but also as source of industrial products.

Results obtained from a research study conducted by the University of the Philippines - Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI) with funding support from the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), revealed that a particular species known as Halymenia durvillei Bory de Saint-Vincent can contribute significantly to the fishery sector through research and development.

The project, “Development of Culture Technologies for Halymenia durvillei Bory de Saint-Vincent using Spores,” initiated in November 2011, is being led by Dr. Gavino C. Trono, Jr., professor emeritus and a national scientist from UP-MSI. The research experiment was conceptualized to: 1) obtain temporal and spatial distribution data of fertile thalli of H. durvillei, 2) induce fertile thalli to shed spores on selected substrates in the laboratory, and 3) grow spores in special culture medium in the laboratory.

The growing interest in H. durvillei was brought about by its promising economic benefits. Derived from this high-value natural products are lambda-like carrageenan and phycobilin pigments, r-phycoerythin and r-phycocyanin, which are extensively used in the cosmetic, biomedical, and pharmaceutical industries. In addition, countries like Japan and Hawaii consume the alga as component in their vegetable salads and soup.

To tap the potential of H. durvillei, a culture technology was developed for the species using vegetative propagules (cuttings). As pointed out by Dr. Trono, the production of H. durvillei through culture utilizing spores is very important in the conservation of natural stocks of the species. The continued use of cuttings will definitely lead to the depletion of natural stocks. It is necessary and important to develop an alternative source of germlings/sporelings. The use of spores as seedstocks is seen as a good strategy for resource management.

The studies on the reproductive periodicity in natural population, spores settlement preferences, growth and development of spores were conducted at the UP-MSI Bolinao Marine Laboratory in Bolinao, Pangasinan.

The team of Dr. Trono conducted monthly assessments to evaluate the growth and development, and reproductive periodicity of H. durvillei in natural populations in the three sites in Pangasinan, namely, Santiago Island, Cangaluyan Island, and shoreline of Patar. Fertile materials were collected and releases of spores were induced through desiccation for six hours. Spores were allowed to settle on different substrates (clam, shell, coral blocks, cotton strings, and net). Prior to outplanting, sporelings that developed into branched upright thallus were transferred to 50-L outdoor aquaria in the hatchery until it reached 2-3 cm. Sporelings were then outplanted using a rectangular cage/tray made from PVC pipes and plastic mesh wire and were allowed to grow until harvestable size.

Halymenia grows on coralline rocks at the lower intertidal and upper subtidal zone at a depth of two to five meters. It is quite an adventure monitoring the growth and reproductive periodicity of Halymenia especially during high tide characterized by moderate wave action. One has to be a good swimmer.

The red alga

Halymenia durvillei is a red marine macrobenthic alga with large and bushy thalli that can grow up to 35 cm. It is soft, cartilaginous and slimy when fresh. The species is commonly found in the lower intertidal and upper subtidal zones attached to rocky coralline substrate with its discoid holdfast (Trono, 1997).

H. durvillei is a very common species in the Indian and West-Pacific Ocean, characterized by its branched thallus, multiple surface proliferations, supple cartilaginous structure and evenly colored thallus surface. Despite its distinctive morphology, the taxonomic history of H. durvillei is long and confusing, which can probably be attributed to the rather variable external morphology (degree of branching, thallus width, and degree of dentation). The species was originally described and illustrated from New Ireland, Papua New Guinea.

Research result

The output of this research initiative is targeted towards individuals and group of individuals interested in the sustainable mass production of H. durvillei including, but not limited to, mariculturists, the seaweed industry, coastal populations, resource managers and policymakers.

Results obtained showed intra-annual peaks in fertility among the natural populations of carposporic and tetrasporic plants. Carposporophytes (those with cystocarps) were available during colder months of October until March, and these disappear during summer months when water temperatures are warmer. Dr. Trono suggested that field harvesting of H. durvillei must coincide with its seasonality. Ideally, harvest for spore propagation should be done during fertility peaks of carposporophytes, and harvest for use in the culture using vegetative propagules and biomass for the use in the process of natural products utilization be made after the said peaks. It was further observed that spores prefer to grow and develop into upright thalli in clam shells and coral blocks than in other substrates. The research study demonstrated the feasibility of using spores as source of sporelings for use in the open sea culture system for the biomass production of H. durvillei.

One of the tangible results from the study was the publication of a manual authored by Dr. Trono. The manual, “Mariculture of the red alga Halymenia durvillei Bory de Saint Vincent” discusses the techniques from spores to sea outplanting.

A native of Negros Occidental, Dr. Trono obtained his B.S. in Botany from the University of the Philippines in 1954. His continued interest in the study led him to pursue his M.S. in Agricultural Botany from the Araneta University in 1961. In 1968, he earned his Ph.D. in Botany (Marine) from the University of Hawaii (UH) through an East West Center Study Grant. He became a graduate teaching assistant at the Department of Botany under the advisorship of the late professor, Maxwell S. Doty for the rest of his five-year stint at the UH. His graduate training further enabled his interest in the seaweed resources of the Philippines.

Dr. Trono has been involved in research and development (R&D) works on the biodiversity, biology, and ecology of the seaweed flora and development of farming technologies of economically important species of seaweeds. He has been in this area of research for 47 years and plans to continue working in his field of expertise. His present priorities for R&D work are the genus Sargassum and the biodiversity of the microphytic and macrobenthic groups of the seaweed flora. The latter groups are potentially economically viable but rarely studied. In 2014, President Benigno S, Aquino III conferred the Order of the National Scientist to Dr. Trono for his contribution on seminal and original research on the systematic ecology and diversity of Philippine amphibians and reptiles and marine biodiversity.

Any successfully implemented project on species with economically-important and high-priced natural products will attract business companies. At present, one foreign company dealing with natural products from marine resources has already applied for funding from USAID for pilot-scale production and processing of natural products. Another local but big company has also expressed interest in acquiring the culture technology.

The culture technology is a research in progress and development in process. Methods and techniques presented in this research output are still subjected for refinement according to the project leader. ### (Patrick Raymund A. Lesaca)

For more information, contact:
Dr. Gavino C. Trono, Jr.
Professor Emeritus/Academician
The Marine Science Institute
University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

1. Trono, G.C. (2013). Development of Culture Technologies for Halymenia durvillei Bory de Saint-Vincent using Spores. A project terminal report submitted to the Bureau of Agricultural Research.
2. The University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute website.
3. De-Smedt, G., De-Clerck, O., Leliaert, F., Coppejans, E., Liao, L. M. (2001) Morphology and systematics of the genus Halymenia C. Agardh Halymeniales, Rhodophyta in the Philippines. Nova Hedwigia 73 (3-4).