In our goal to continually improve the services we provide, we would like to get your insights on the second part of the online seminar on Organic Complete Ration Mix Processing and Commercialization with Dr. Cayetano Pomares you attended. Your views and comments will really help us make our upcoming online seminars and events even more useful and relevant. Please let us know what you think. You can say as little or as much as you'd like.

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Various sectors around the world have gradually adjusted to the new normal particularly in seeking innovative ways to ease the provision and access to necessities and services for the people during the pandemic. Coherently, the agriculture and the science and technology sector, through research for development initiatives, continuously devise harmonized efforts to address the surfacing problems to match the demand for basic needs of the Filipinos, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19.

 

In response to the increasing demand for disinfectants to comply with the minimum health standards set as precautionary measures against COVID-19, the Central Luzon State University (CLSU)-Nanotechnology R&D Facility, co-supported by the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR), has developed a nano-enhanced alcohol and sanitizer as well as face masks with nanofiber filters.

 

Started as an initiative at the beginning of the community quarantine throughout Luzon in March this year, the project, “CLSU-DOST III Initiative and Collaboration Response [towards] COVID-19 Mitigation” aims to provide the frontliners with nano-products that will help prevent the coronavirus. The project is implemented through the partnership between CLSU and Department of Science and Technology-Central Luzon.

 

The components of the nano-structured alcohol include nanoparticles infused with turmeric extract—both of which are used to enhance the 70% alcohol and sanitizer. Aside from its antiviral property, it also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties due to curcumin, a bioactive component of turmeric.

 

Based on studies, the said alcohol and sanitizer mixture could kill H1N1 influenza, SARS COV1, and MERS COV which are family of SARS COV2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Hence, the usage of the said local alcohol and sanitizer can possibly prevent the spread of the virus, as claimed by the CLSU Nanotechnology Research R&D team.

 

Aside from the nano-enhanced alcohol and sanitizer, the research team also developed washable face masks and nanofiber mask filters made from polymer nanocomposites with antiviral properties. The said face mask can be reused through normal washing with soap and water, while the nanofiber filters inserted into the washable face mask pockets can be reused up to 10 times by sanitizing the filter material with nano-enhanced 70% alcohol spraying and air drying.

 

Collaborating in the production of the nano-enhanced alcohol and sanitizer are the CLSU College of Engineering-Affiliated Renewable Energy Center (AREC), and the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU). The CLSU College of Engineering and the AREC were in charge of obtaining the 70% alcohol from bioethanol referencing from the protocol shared by MMSU in its previous R&D partnership with CLSU.

 

CLSU received support from various institutions to sustain the volume of production and address the scarcity of materials in creating alcohol and sanitizer. The CLSU Research and Training Center, DA-Philippine Carabao Center-Small Ruminant Center, and the Ramon Magsaysay-Center for Agricultural Resources and Environment Studies provided molasses and yeast to create almost 300 liters of bioethanol distilled by CLSU College of Engineering-AREC. The team also received 60 liters of bioethanol as donated by Central Azucarera de Tarlac.

 

To sustain the initiative, the continuing alcohol materials were funded by CLSU Gender and Development and DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD). Furthermore, the DOST-Central Luzon also provided additional funds for the procurement of raw materials needed to support the increasing volume of alcohol and sanitizer to meet the demand of the region.

 

According to Dr. Juvy Monserate, project proponent and head of the CLSU Nanotechnology R&D Center, the nanostructured alcohol and sanitizer are made from bioethanol making it organic, safe, and cheaper as compared to the other market available alcohol and sanitizers.

 

“These efforts are service-oriented where it primarily intends to provide the frontliners—doctors, nurses, health workers, police and military personnel, and those providing services in the grounds with nano-structured alcohol and sanitizer as well as nanofiber filler face mask to serve as a weapon to fight COVID-19,” Dr. Monserate shared.

 

Per Dr. Monserate, the products are currently undergoing accreditation and will be subjected to third party analysis and confirmation to ensure its viability prior to commercialization to a wider market.

 

At present, more than 8000 liters of nano-structured alcohol, around 4000 face masks, and more than 300 nano-enhanced face masks with nano fiber filters were produced and distributed in the region. Recipients include barangays, rural health units, local government units, state universities and colleges, and hospitals from various cities and provinces in Central Luzon and National Capital Region.

 

Continuously serving targeted stakeholders in the Central Luzon and aiming to reach more areas nationwide, the nano-enhanced alcohol, sanitizer, and masks were some of the research outputs produced and strengthened by the Nanotechnology R&D Facility established in 2019.

 

The said facility, which is the first in the country that centralizes on nanotechnology R&D for Agriculture and Fishery initiatives, was funded by DA-BAR under its Research Facilities Development Grant. The operationalization of the facility through the provision of equipment was done through CLSU’s partnership with the Department of Budget and Management–Region III, DOST-PCIEERD, and DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development.

 

Harmonizing efforts from various sectoral agencies focusing on agriculture and science and technology, the CLSU Nanotechnology R&D Facility is geared towards applying nanotechnology in agriculture and food, environment, and biomedicine, among others. ### Clarisse Mae N. Abao

 

For more information:
Dr. Juvy J. Monserate
Head
Nanotechnology R&D Center
Central Luzon State University
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(0917) 148 5214

In our goal to continually improve the services we provide, we would like to get your insights on the second part of the online seminar on Organic Strawberry and Citrus Production with Maritess Alimurung you attended. Your views and comments will really help us make our upcoming online seminars and events even more useful and relevant. Please let us know what you think. You can say as little or as much as you'd like.

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In our goal to continually improve the services we provide, we would like to get your insights on the second part of the online seminar on Banana Stalk and Water Lily as Feeds for Dairy Cattle with Dr. Amado Angeles you attended. Your views and comments will really help us make our upcoming online seminars and events even more useful and relevant. Please let us know what you think. You can say as little or as much as you'd like.

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Mushroom growing and propagation is an overlooked industry in business and commerce. Though it has sprung as a feasible livelihood due to its low-cost start-up and efficiency, it was still not cultivated enough because of the lack of resources, training, and guidance of experts. But in these trying times, mushroom propagation became a popular venture for urban agriculture.

 

With the shock and heightened distress that the pandemic brought us, considering mushroom growing and production as a business pursuit can be a good income-generating activity for those who wanted to invest in something sustainable without breaking the bank.

 

With the aid of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), in line with its commitment to support and uplift the lives of farmers and fishers, created a program that highlights the right measures and urgency of ensuring food security amid the pandemic. With that, research for development (R4D) agencies have been refocusing and reinforcing their projects to support the DA-BAR’s current initiative.

 

One partner agency is the DA-Central Luzon Integrated Agricultural Research Center (CLIARC) that focuses on boosting mushroom propagation technology. With their current project titled, “Upscaling of Mushroom Crackers as Additional Income Source of Indigenous People in Caranglan, Nueva Ecija in Support to ALPAS-COVID 19,” CLIARC believed that this would help the Binbin Igorot’s Association, mushroom growers, and processors increase their income by 50 percent through the mushroom processing technologies developed by their agency. Funded by DA-BAR, this project can help enhance the skills and productivity of the beneficiaries and can also pave the way to the adoption of a healthier snack alternative.

 

This project is one of the installments of DA-Central Luzon’s main study on mushroom production titled, “Product Development and Shelf-Life Extension of Pleurotus Mushroom Processed Product Categorized into Frozen Foods, Condiments, Sauces, Sweets, and Pastries.” From its inception in 2015, 30 mushroom-based products were produced which greatly helped uplift a lot of lives until now.

 

The beginning of it all

 

With the main goal of generating and introducing low-cost mushroom production and technologies to rice farmers, the main study’s results have indeed come a long way since then. Through DA-BAR’s support, a successful food product line on mushrooms was created through the said study.

 

Marketed as snacks that do not only give consumers fulfillment in taste but also in nutritional content, this project has 10 frozen product varieties that include ice cream, ice drop, kikiam, bola-bola, nuggets, veggie-balls, longganisa, tapa, dumpling, and lumpiang shanghai. Moreover, another 10 mushroom-based products are dedicated to sweets and pastries. These are waffle, cupcake, espasol, macaroons, pie tart, pandesal, brownie, sugar-coated mushroom, glazed mushroom, and maja.

 

And of course, to complete the product line, mushroom-based condiments were also developed by the project implementers. Under the substudy, “Incorporation of Pleurotus Mushroom on the Processing and Development of Condiments, Mixes, and Sauces for Community-Based Enterprises,” mushroom ketchup, pickle relish, gravy, chili paste, fish ball sauce, mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, hot sauce, and barbecue sauce were developed.

 

In these products, fresh oyster mushroom fruits were harvested and processed to be incorporated in these goods. And to ensure its marketability, the project implementers conducted a sensory evaluation survey to gauge the people’s interest in the product taste-wise. Fortunately, the product line garnered positive feedback from the respondents and has also been commended for the presentation, texture, and varieties of flavor available.

 

The said project has successfully provided additional income to the rice farmers, particularly those who are already engaged in mushroom propagation. During this pandemic where additional income is much needed, this accomplishment sparked the interest of the project implementers to venture on another merchandise that will add flavor and crunch to the product line. Hence, the emergence of mushroom crackers.

 

Forwarding a healthier cracker alternative

 

Deemed as a healthier complimentary cracker, mushroom crackers are “deep-fried puffed crackers made from fresh oyster mushroom and vegetable flour,” as defined by the proponents. With its crunchiness and taste that resembles existing commercial crackers in the market, this product is a promising cracker alternative because of its added vitamins and minerals especially for those who are monitoring their health.

 

The project implementers have this vision to upscale and stretch its commercialization initiatives in DA’s Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita markets and other cooperatives. To boost its presence and linkages, the project implementers would also like to take advantage of social media for marketing and promotions.

 

A total of 48,000 packs are projected to be produced in this installment. Four thousand eight hundred will be distributed to the less privileged, 4,800 for the frontliners, and another 4,800 to the funding agency. The rest of the mushroom crackers are meant to be sold for the income of the beneficiaries. The production, of course, will be accompanied by hands-on training on the mushroom crackers processing technology and also training and assistance on Good Manufacturing Practices to ensure food quality.

 

Together with the mushroom cracker project, DA-Central Luzon has also been active recently in forwarding other initiatives for the department’s program. One of them is the project titled, “Support to Mass Production of Mushroom Quality Planting Through Mass Propagation Protocol in Central Luzon.” This aims to increase the production of quality mushroom pure culture, grain spawn, and fruiting bags by incorporating mass propagation techniques and protocols.

 

Early on, DA-Central Luzon was also known to be distributing spawn and fruiting bags to community members and associations through its research outreach stations located in Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales. Furthermore, with the public’s growing interest in mushroom production and propagation, the Mushroom Technology Development Center under CLIARC in Paraiso, Tarlac City has also launched a webinar on mushroom production through the center’s official Facebook page.

 

Being resilient keeps us afloat during this pandemic, but what can sustain our buoy is every agency’s concerted initiatives and contributions especially for our farmers and fishers. That is why mushroom growing is ideal for those who want to invest in a business that needs low-cost materials and a small space to start on. Aside from being an additional source of income, growing mushrooms can also serve as an efficient food source because of its nutritional value and properties. This can, indeed, help alleviate the threat to food security. (### Chantale T. Francisco)

 

For more information:

Dr. Emily A. Soriano

Agricultural Center Chief III

Department of Agriculture-Central Luzon Integrated Agricultural Research Center for Upland Development

Sto. Niño, Magalang, Pampanga

(0906) 245 0622

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.