Every Filipino uses biotechnology, knowingly or not. From simple food, drinks and condiments such as cheese, bread, beer, wine and vinegar, to high-technology products that involve genetic screening and engineering, biotechnology is already deeply ingrained in our everyday lives.
According to Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Mario G. Montejo, biotechnology is an effective tool in addressing hunger, improving health and nutrition, and ensuring food and water safety while preserving the country’s natural resources.
“Today’s society faces lingering and emerging challenges, underscoring the importance of utilizing new and proven technologies in developing solutions. Biotechnology can deliver such solutions. It is a catalyst for progressive change that should be fully utilized in improving and advancing the quality of the Filipino’s life and environment,” Sec. Montejo said.
Many DOST research projects highlight the use of biotechnology in addressing practical and pressing national concerns. These projects will be presented during the Science and Technology (S&T) Forum on November 22, 2011 at the Social Hall of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Diliman, Quezon City.
The S&T Forum is part of the DOST’s program of activities for the 7th National Biotechnology Week (NBW), which will be held on November 21-26, 2011 at the DENR.
Making biotechnology work in the Philippines
The Philippines was among the first in Asia to realize the huge potential of biotechnology, with biotech-related research being done as early as the 1960s. In fact, the DOST has funded many research projects on biotechnology, specifically on genomics and bioremediation.
For instance, researchers at the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila have developed a system that tests water quality using microarray technology. A microarray is a lab-on-a-chip that tests biological material using high-throughput screening methods.
Meanwhile, scientists from Visayas State University have developed a testing kit that can detect the abaca bunchy top virus, which is one of the most common diseases that cause heavy damage on the country’s abaca plantations.
On the other hand, researchers from the Marine Science Institute at UP Diliman (UP-MSI) are exploring the possibility of developing anti-infective drugs from marine microorganisms and anti-pain drugs from turrid snails.
DOST and National Biotechnology Week
Highlights of these research projects will be presented and discussed during the morning session of the S&T Forum, which will highlight advances in research and techniques as well as applications of biotechnology in genomics and bioremediation.
Sec. Montejo will be a special guest during the S&T Forum.
The whole-day activity will also feature discussions on how biotechnology can help clean tannery and industrial wastewaters, and how bio-ozonation can be used in recycling water in large-water-demand industries. These will be presented by Dr. Lorele C. Trinidad of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (NIMBB) UP Los Baños and Dr. Analiza P. Rollon of the College of Engineering UP Diliman, respectively. Dr. Cynthia P. Saloma of NIMBB UP Diliman will present an overview of genomics research in the Philippines.
In addition to the S&T Forum, the DOST, together with the Department of Trade and Industry, will conduct a Business Forum that will present various DOST-generated technologies that are available for adoption and commercialization.
An exhibit showcasing 16 R&D projects of the DOST on genomics and bioremediation will also be on display at the activity area.
Presidential Proclamation No. 1414
Celebrated every last week of November, the NBW was institutionalized by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1414 dated 9 November 2007 titled “Declaring Every Last Week of November of Every Year as National Biotechnology Week.” It directs the Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Environment and Natural Resources, Health, Science and Technology, Interior and Local Government, and Trade and Industry to formulate a program for the meaningful celebration of NBW.
This year’s NBW celebration will be anchored on the theme “Bioteknolohiya para sa Kalikasan, Kalusugan, Kagandahan, Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran! Ok ang Biotech! Suportahan at Tangkilikin Natin.”
Source: Philippine Information Agency