Miyerkules, Marso 2, 2022

DOST-CRADLE Cooks Up Nutritious Food Innovations to Improve Industry, MSME Products


With its crispy pork skin, juicy meat, and savory sauce – Filipinos carved a place for lechon to be a highlight in every community and holiday celebration.  This product creates hefty business opportunities, most especially to small business owners or the local lechoneros.   Post-holiday woes, however, include the subject of income loss due to food waste.  

The pandemic also brought additional burden to many Micro-to-Small-Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as they needed to adapt and change products and mode of business transactions to comply with health and travel restrictions. 

Finding solutions to the problems of private companies and MSMEs through research and development (R&D) is the objective of the Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy (CRADLE) Program of the Department of Science and Technology.  Through the 1st CRADLE Symposium held last Tuesday, January 18, 2022, research collaborations and technologies related to food and nutrition innovations were showcased.  

Entitled “DOST-CRADLE’s Science Kusina - Innovative breakthroughs in food technology, health and nutrition: Sarap at Sustansya, mula sa agham at teknolohiya ng DOST CRADLE”, the event presented breakthrough technologies such as longer-shelf life for lechon, deriving additional nutrients from pineapples, locally formulated vegan sausages, and potential health and nutrition benefits from marine species.  

“DOST-CRADLE enables industry members to pandemic-proof their business by solving the problem through R&D,” says DOST Undersecretary Rowena Cristina L. Guevara. “Innovation is the key for our private companies to sustain their business performance, despite the challenges brought about by restrictions in health and travel.”

The Tacloban City Litson Industry Association (TACLIYA), a group of twenty-four (24) micro entrepreneurs, experiences an average excess of 30 kg of lechon produced every day, which even surges up to 200 kg during off peak season. Through the DOST-CRADLE Program, TACLIYA partnered with the Eastern Visayas Food Innovation Center (EVFIC) and the Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU).  The EVFIC works to reprocess the excess lechon into shelf-stable products such as "Lechon Paksiw de Leyte" that can provide potential for expansion of their existing market. The products will be processed through acidification and retort technology which is available at the EVFIC. These are also seen to serve as emergency food in times of calamities in the region. 

Another breakthrough is the partnership between the University of Santo Tomas (UST) and the Banawe Soybean Corporation. In view of the company’s commitment for environmental protection and waste management, they used R&D to address food waste generated from soymilk and tofu processing called okara.  This product contains high amounts of protein and fiber that can help prevent diseases such as diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and obesity. It is also known to have high antioxidant content and prebiotic benefits. The study will develop gluten-free, vegan sausages from okara.  

Del Monte Philippines and the University of San Agustin will also address agricultural waste from pineapples.  Del Monte faces the problem of waste amounting to 1 million metric tons a year, from pineapple stems and core which are brimming with nutrients. These nutrients are in the form of pineapple metabolites that have bromelain-like properties which include hypocholesterolemic effects and lipase activities that can be extracted through metabolomics. Extracted compounds from waste plant parts will be developed into high-value products such as functional food ingredients and dietary supplements in foods and beverages which produce desired health benefits.

The partnership of Pascual Pharma Corporation and University of the Philippines-Visayas will address generating better foods for better survival and therapy, particularly to those who are afflicted with disease (especially chronic or terminal diseases). The project will create foods that are easy to digest, appropriate for recovery and will increase immune system responses.  The project will use bioavailable proteins and bioactive peptides from low-cost fish species. These peptides can be used as a component of low-cost adjunct therapies for post-surgery patients and other persons with health dysfunctions. There will also be commercial value as this study explores mixing the extracted fish proteins and peptides in beverages. 

For companies who are also seeking to explore the benefits of the DOST CRADLE Program, you may contact the DOST-Science for Change Project Management Office at 2/F ADMATEL Bldg., DOST Compound, Gen. Santos Ave., Bicutan, Taguig City, with telephone numbers (02) 8837-2943/ 8837-2930.  You may also send an email s4c.ousecrd@dost.gov.ph.

BSP Talks Episode 2 highlights Balik Scientist and Host Institution Matching


The DOST’s Balik Scientist Program, in collaboration with Pinoy Iskolars sa Korea (PIKO), released the second episode of the BSP Talks titled “Match Tayo!” on Tuesday, February 15, 2022 at 11 AM via Facebook Live.

BSP Talks Episode 2 highlighted the different ways a Balik Scientist can match with a Host Institution. To demonstrate these, prospective applicants to the Program were shown as they interacted with select reputable R&D institutions.

In its first segment, an aspiring Balik Scientist identified a potential Host Institution they can partner with in pursuing R&D activities that matched their expertise. It shows how an expert can discover the appropriate Host Institution for them by looking at the potential host’s R&D priority areas and aligning this with their research interest.

The UP Marine Science Institute (MSI) was featured as an established research institute for the advancement of its four thematic areas for R&D: marine biodiversity and ecosystems, archipelagic oceanography, marine biotechnology, and coastal and marine climate change. The Institute takes pride in research spanning from the molecular level to ecosystem scale, which has brought on opportunities for more research endeavors.

In fact, MSI hosted 8 Balik Scientists from 2016 to 2019 alone and had several researches funded by the DOST. It has been home to Balik Puso experts such as Dr. Michael Roleda, Dr. Zenith Gaye Orozco, Dr. Deo Florence Onda, Dr. Charissa Ferrera, Dr. Janelli Lea Soria, Dr. Wilfred John SantiaƱez, Dr. Irene Rodriguez, and Dr. Charina Lyn Repollo.

Showcased in the second segment is Caraga State University (CSU), which demonstrated how a Host Institution can also reach out and tap a prospective Balik Scientist depending on their needs.

“In reaching the University’s vision and goals, we need more Balik Scientists,” Dr. Mark Anthony Lavapiez stressed, after acknowledging that Balik Scientist engagements in CSU empowered their capacity and capability to implement research.

With its 12 Research Centers, CSU is a Higher Education Institute (HEI) partner of the DOST in strengthening R&D in the region. It has recently hosted 4 Balik Scientists, namely, Dr. Anthony Halog, Dr. Julian Cacho, Dr. Engielle Mae Paguican, and Dr. Christian Mark Salvador.

The last segment showed how in some cases, the Program’s Secretariat may also assist in matching a prospective Balik Scientist with a potential Host Institution. This was illustrated with the matching of the BSP applicant with the DOST- Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI).

As one of DOST’s R&D institutes, ITDI has been developing relevant technologies and is continuously contributing its R&D innovations to DOST’s efforts, most especially in the establishment of the Virology and Vaccine Institute of the Philippines (VIP).

The VIP has been gaining ground with the support and expertise of Balik Scientists namely, Dr. Teodoro Fajardo, Dr. Myra Hosmillo, Dr. Elpidio Cesar Nadala, Dr. Lourdes Nadala, Dr. Christina Leyson, Dr. Leodevico Ilag and Dr. Homer Pantua.

ITDI also hosted and collaborated with Dr. Eufemio Barcelon, Dr. Mario Castillo, Dr. Arnold Lubguban, Dr. Dexter Rasonabe and Dr. Cynthia Goh under its major research areas.

Indeed, more and more S&T experts are taking interest in the Balik Scientist Program. Along with this, we also recognize the important part that Host Institutions play and why Balik Scientist and Host Institution matching is needed.

The Balik Scientist Act determines that Host Institutions may be public or private academic institutions, government agencies or locally registered industries who are undertaking research and development initiatives. More importantly, Host Institutions must be committed to ensure that Balik Scientists could accomplish their R&D activities for greater advancement of science, technology, and innovation.

Upon matching of the Balik Scientist and the Host Institution, viewers were left with a teaser for the third episode which focuses on the next step of the application process—how to accomplish the BSP Terms of Reference.

Visit: https://bsp.dost.gov.ph/ for furher information about the program