Wednesday, April 29, 2015

PhilMech Develops 3 Bio-organic Solutions VS Crop Pest, Fungi

MANILA, April 27 (PNA) — The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) has come up with three types of organic solutions for controlling pests and fungi which all have promising potential for mass use in the country.

PhilMech executive director Rex Bingabing said the three ‘emerging technologies’ in the field of bio-control for pests and fungi are a product of the continued research and development (R&D) of the agency into non-chemical solutions for use in farming.

“Once these technologies are fully commercialized, the Philippines can improve the quality and safety of its food products,” he said.

The emerging technologies are named Biofungicide Th-DGA02, Biofungicide 8a-DGA14, and Biopesticide Piper betle L.

Biofungicide Th-DGA02 is a formulation containing biologically pure culture of Trichoderma harzianum that has strong anti-fungal properties.

Bingabing said lab tests have shown its effectiveness against the banana crown rot disease.

Meanwhile, Biofungicide 8a-DGA14 is from a biologically pure culture of a novel strain of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens DGA14 and can also be used to inhibit the fungi that cause banana crown rot disease.

On the other hand, Biopesticide Piper betle L is a volatile oil extracted from Piper betle leaves in 30-percent dust formulation.

It is effective against the cowpea beetle which can destroy bean harvests; lesser grain borer which can damage grains; and the corn weevil which targets corns and other grains.

“After thorough testing with the R&D collaborators of PhilMech, any of the three technologies can be readied for commercialization in the next few years,” Bingabing said.

The PhilMech chief said the three organic-based controls were developed as the agency’s contribution to make food products safer for consumption in the Philippines as well as to help boost the exports of bananas to other countries.

“Today, the most widely used measures to control the banana crown rot disease along with pests found in uncooked food products are chemical solutions. However, the long-term health implications of using chemicals to control fungi and pests in farm products cannot be ignored,” Bingabing said.

Thus, he said that PhilMech continues to undertake research work on indigenous Philippine plants that can possibly have active ingredients that can help control common pests and fungi in food products.

“Earlier investigations by PhilMech showed a reduction of fungal and insect activities when extracts from native plants like Bituon, Bangbangsit, Anobrang, Hagonoy and Bayating were tested on grains that were stored,” Bingabing said.

He said that R&D undertaken by the agency on bio-control agents is also in support of the National Organic Agriculture Program of the Department of Agriculture.

Incidentally, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala was the main author of the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 (Republic Act No. 10068) which provides for the development and promotion of organic agriculture in the country.

“The biocontrol agents developed by PhilMech can be very useful for organic farming practitioners. Organic products are becoming popular because more people are opting to consume chemical- and pesticide-free products which are safer and more environment-friendly,” Bingabing said. (PNA)

By: Philippine News Agency

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