DOST links university researchers to local industries

By Allan Mauro V. Marfal, DOST-STII

Members of various industry sectors and the academe shared their respective success and acquired benefits as a result of collaborating with one another in the recent episode of the DOST Report aired on 07 August 2020.
As beneficiaries of the Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy (CRADLE) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the private companies were able to address some of the existing challenges in their operations and services through the research and development (R&D) studies made by experts from the different universities in the country.
CRADLE, part of the Science for Change (S4C) program of the DOST, encourages synergistic relationship between the academe, research and development institutions and industry through collaborative R&D projects. Under the program, the private sector industries identify the problem or challenges in their operation and the Higher Education Institutions (HEI) and research and development institutions (RDI) will then undertake the R&D activities to solve the problem.

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña said that the DOST primarily implemented the S4C program to ensure that the research projects of the different universities and research centers will be put into good use by various industries because of their practical application.

“We don’t want to limit our researchers to merely publishing their works in universities; we also want some sectors to benefit from their works,” said de la Peña.
Aquafeeds for Lab-Lab

Aquaculture can be considered a multi-million-peso industry and plays an important role spurring economic development in the country. However, the cost of production that include aquafeeds, among others, have increased and has become a major concern for fish farmers.
In the Philippines, lab-lab was noted as one of the primary feeds used for milkfish production that has big potential for innovation.
Seeing this opportunity, the De La Salle University-Manila (DLSU-Manila) and Santeh Feeds Corporation implemented a project that developed the following: Lab-Lab Harvester Autonomous Mode, Lab-Lab Harvester Vision System, Drying and Preservation Machine.
According to Dr. Alvin B. Culaba, project leader of the Aquafeed Lab-Lab that was enrolled in the CRADLE program, researchers and scientists from DLSU-Manila developed a technology wherein lab-lab can be harvested every summer so it can be preserved and used during the rainy season, thus ensuring a steady supply of the feeds. He further said that lab-lab is a natural material that grows abundantly in watery areas, particularly during the summer season.
“With the use of Automated Lab-lab Harvester, the collection of lab-lab has been made quicker. During manual collection, it takes around 30 minutes and four (4) to five (5) people are needed to complete the collection of lab-lab but with the help of the newly-invented machine, the process only takes five minutes. “said Dr. Culaba.
He also mentioned that the dried lab-lab which is made into powder is being placed into the dryer to preserve lab-lab by minimizing the moisture content, resulting in an extended shelf life. With this technology, lab-lab becomes readily available even during off-season especially during the rainy season at lesser cost.
Dr. Culaba said that the CRADLE program of the DOST is ideal because private companies are given the chance to work with scientists and the universities with R&D capacity to do research, share knowledge, and develop technologies that will address the real problems of the industry.
“I agree with Doc Alvin (Culaba), though we are also making R&D initiatives in the industry, we admit that we have limited resources when it comes to the financial aspect and our skills are inadequate for these tasks.” said Patricia I. Rico, president of Santeh Feeds Corporation.
She said that this kind of arrangement, with the academe partnering with industry and government that provides the funds, is a huge help to innovate, to be more cost-efficient and improve the existing production process.
Surveillance System for Banana disease

In the field of crop management, banana disease is a major problem for growers as it takes a lot of time and resources to maintain the good quality of plants. The banana disease, if not controlled or eradicated, can cause big profit loss and increase in prices of the product in the market.
To address this problem, the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP) and HIJO Resources Corporation, one of the many banana plantations in Mindanao, worked together to develop ROSANNA: Mobile Banana Disease Surveillance System.
Dr. Val Quimno, project leader from USEP said that Banana Disease Surveillance System has established and enhanced the company’s disease control interventions through better understanding of pests, plant selection, harvest monitoring, inputs monitoring, plant care, fertilization, and farm operation modules. As a result of this innovation, the system generated substantial savings for the company.

According to the Chief Executive Officer, Rosanna Tuason-Fores, Hijo is not a large company so it has limited resources, particularly for R&D. However, they are looking for ways to innovate in order to change the traditional farming practices and improve their banana disease management.
“I wanted an authentic R&D for more sustainable ways to go to a more sustainable approach to address our problem. I have noticed over the last three years that from 55 cycles of deploying pest disease systemic and contact pesticides into the farm, they have grown up to 76 with no significant impact on the pest and disease management,” said Tuason-Fores.
On the other hand, Dr. Quimno said that the intention of the disease surveillance system is to minimize the frequency of non-spraying by coming up with a more realistic surveillance process and to provide alternatives to farm managers to learn appropriate interventions.

“Basically, we have spotters in the field who are helping us in data collection through our mobile application and then our mobile application will send the data to our system or to our server and then perform a number of crunching analysis to come up with intervention options for the farm managers,” concluded Dr. Quimno.


Week 20 Report (as of August 5, 2020)


The DOST interventions to address the COVID-19 pandemic, help rebuild the economy through science, technology and innovations and respond to other concerns have been highlighted by a number of accomplishments, such as the following:
1. DOST-ITDI extends assistance to Ospital ng Tondo
The DOST-ITDI provided health workers of Ospital ng Tondo 50 pieces of 3D-printed face shields and 50 pieces of ear loop holders (ear relief bands). Donated also were 3 boxes (900 pouches) of Ready-To-Eat (RTE) chicken Arroz Caldo which are shelf-stable for one year, no-drinkables needed and can be consumed directly from the pouch. For those desiring to eat RTE chicken Arroz Caldo hot, the package can be directly heated in boiling water. The DOST-ITDI technology adopter, Kai Anya Food produced the RTE Arroz Caldo.

2. DOST pushes for accelerating agri-based agricultural livelihood activities and their related business opportunities

To implement the directive of the President during the State of the Nation Address (SONA), the DOST, DA and DTI Secretaries met virtually on August 4 to discuss a whole of government approach in providing agri-based livelihood activities and business opportunities to those affected by the pandemic including returning overseas Filipino workers. DOST is pushing for the adoption of various technologies developed by research and academic institutions which have benefited farmers such as the improvement on growth of native pigs, chickens and ducks. Some have turned them into successful agri-based business ventures that can serve as models to future technology adoptors.

3. DOST and DA Region VI partner to enhance the market competitiveness of Western Visayas agriculture and fishery products through packaging improvement

DOST VI and DA VI have recently forged a partnership to improve the packaging of various products and commodities being produced by farmers, fisherfolks, and agribusiness enterprises in the region. DA VI provided funding support last July to DOST VI amounting to Php 7.5M in order to provide packaging-related assistance such as label design assistance for at least 100 farmers, fisherfolks, and agribusiness enterprises; development of technical manual for agri-fishery product packaging; and capacity building not only of agribusiness enterprises but even of DA and LGU personnel who are assisting farmers and fisherfolks. The project will likewise involve the Packaging Engineering Department of the Central Philippine University (CPU) in Iloilo City.

4. DTI-DOST-FDA to collaborate to benefit food processors in Region V

The DTI, DOST, and FDA Regional Offices in the Bicol Region entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) last 03 August 2020 for the implementation of a collaborative project focused on facilitating the registration of and compliance by food processing MSMEs with mandated food safety regulatory certifications and standards such as FDA License to Operate (LTO) and Certificate of Product Registration (CPR).

The DOST V’s role in this collaborative undertaking is to assist in capability development of DTI technical personnel through the conduct of training on Basic Food Hygiene and current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). It will also provide analyses and testing as well as technical assistance on the evaluation of compliance to mandatory packaging and labelling requirements. DTI V will identify, select and evaluate target food processor client-beneficiaries and determine products for testing and specific tests to be conducted. The FDA V will conduct orientation to the beneficiaries on Product Registration and Licensing and provide special lane or prioritization of DTI-endorsed applicants.

5. DA-DTI-DOST convergence initiative in Davao del Norte

The DA, DTI and DOST of Region XI signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for convergence programs to address issues and gaps in the cacao value chain, such as; technology support, marketing, land tenure system, policy, climate change resiliency, environment, and institutional capacity for technical support, access to crop inputs, finance and markets. The role of DOST XI is to align its programs and projects, namely, SETUP (Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program), technology transfer trainings in cacao processing and food safety consultancy services, among others.

To date, DOST XI has assisted two (MSMEs) in Davao del Norte that are into cacao processing through SETUP. Additionally, five (5) cacao processors in Davao del Norte were provided with food safety consultancy services. Local cacao food processors from Davao del Norte were also trained by resource persons from DOST XI on Good Manufacturing Practices and HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) to present and discuss the importance of food safety procedures and standards to cacao farmers and processors.