Adlai, more commonly known as Job's Tears (left) is a viable alternative to staple food crops such as rice (right)
Better Food Crop Varieties Through Nuclear Science
Harnessing the power of the atom to help improve the country's agricultural productivity, the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) continues to develop new varieties of plants with unique or improved characteristics.
These traits can be induced from plants through the marvels of mutation breeding using gamma rays.
Among these traits of new varieties are changes in color, size or height, increase in yield, early maturity, resistance to pests and diseases or tolerance to drought, flooding, acid soils, salinity and high temperatures, among others.
Because these traits came from within the plant's genes and not introduced from other organisms, mutant plants are NOT genetically-modified organisms or GMOs.
Scientists and researchers from DOST-PNRI are hard at work developing mutant varieties of staple food crops such as rice, as well as viable alternatives such as adlai or Job's tears.
Coral core sampling by Dr. Fernando Siringan of UP-MSI (left) and Dr. Angel Bautista VII of DOST-PNRI (right)
Detecting radiation among corals
On March 11, 2011, exactly 10 years ago from today, a massive earthquake followed by a tsunami hit the eastern coast of Japan. This led to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident.
This week, in the sea waters of Palaui Island, Sta. Ana, Cagayan, Dr. Angel Bautista VII and Dr. Fernando Siringan of the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) and UP-Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI), respectively, check out meter-long coral cores for information on human nuclear activities.
The Carrageenan PGP Team: (top photo, left to right) Fernando Aurigue, career scientist of the PNRI Agriculture Research Section; Francis Cyril Valdez of the PNRI Irradiation Services Section; Dr. Lucille Abad, career scientist and chief of the PNRI Atomic Research Division; and Patrick Jay Cabalar of the PNRI Chemistry Research Section. Dr. Gil Magsino (bottom photo), director of the UPLB National Crop Protection Center, is also part of the team.
Plant growth promoter team wins Lingkod Bayan Regional Award
For developing the radiation-processed Carrageenan Plant Growth Promoter (PGP) that helped increase the harvests in farmlands across the country, scientists and researchers from the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) won the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award at the regional level.
The award is part of the Civil Service Commission’s 2020 Search for Outstanding Government Workers.
The Carrageenan PGP team includes Career Scientists Dr. Lucille Abad and Fernando Aurigue, and PNRI researchers Patrick Jay Cabalar and Francis Cyril Valdez. Also in the team is Dr. Gil Magsino, currently the director of the National Crop Protection Center of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños.
The team developed PGP from carrageenan, a natural polymer extracted from red seaweed. Using the fabricated liquid handling system at PNRI’s Electron Beam Irradiation Facility, the carrageenan solution was processed using electron beam into a foliar fertilizer sprayed at certain stages in the plant’s life.
PNRI celebrates International Day of Women and Girls in Science
Highlighting the growing role of females in the advancement of science and technology, the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) joined the rest of the world as it celebrated the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11, 2021.
Through the celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the United Nations recognizes the critical role that women and girls have in science and technology. The celebration aims to promote a wider participation among women in sciences, and to advocate for gender equality in the field.
PNRI held two virtual forums on women scientists in the Philippines, both of which were hosted live at the PNRI Facebook page.
Watch the Virtual Forums at the PNRI FB page: