IPA Recipients for May 2015

Jomar F. Rabajante and Jerrold M. Tubay
Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Physics
College of Arts and Sciences
UP Los Baños

Red Queen Dynamics in Multi-host and Multi-parasite Interaction System. Scientific Reports, 5: 10004, 7 pages, April 2015

Mathematical studies have shown the Red Queen dynamics (fluctuating negative frequency-dependent selection) in host-parasite systems with less than three interacting hosts and parasites but these systems may not be adequate to predict the dynamics involving many host and parasite types. Our current extensive simulations show theoretical evidence that Red Queen dynamics still emerge in an antagonistic system with at least up to 20 hosts and 20 parasites, under certain conditions. Understanding the dynamics of host-parasite interaction can provide new insight into the fields of evolutionary biology, parasite ecology, biomedical parasitology and epidemiology. Our findings have significant impact on the theory of host-parasite co-evolution, especially in extending current studies to a multiple-genotype or many-species system.

Link to the article: http://www.nature.com/srep/2015/150422/srep10004/full/srep10004.html
Impact Factor: (2013/2014) 5.078

Francis A. Tablizo and Arturo O. Lluisma
Marine Science Institute
College of Science
UP Diliman

Non-enzymatic Isolation of Somatic Cells from Kappaphycus spp. and Eucheuma denticulatum (Solieriaceae, Rhodophyta). European Journal of Phycology, 49 (4): 486-492, 2014

Cell culture technology is immensely useful in the maintenance and development of commercially viable organisms. However, its application in strain improvement of some tropical red macroalgae, which are the major sources of carrageenan, has been limited due to the difficulty of isolating viable cells from these samples. In this paper, a simple, non-enzymatic technique of isolating somatic cells was developed for Kappaphycus spp. and Echeuma denticulatum. This method may facilitate strain improvement and culture efforts for these commercially important red algae. 

Link to the article: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09670262.2014.977963
Impact Factor: (2013/2014) 2.338

Wolfgang T. Reichardt, Joeriggo M. Reyes, Miahnie J. Pueblos and Arturo O. Lluisma
Marine Science Institute
College of Science
UP Diliman

Impact of Milkfish Farming in the Tropics on Potentially Pathogenic Vibrios. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 77 (1-2): 325–332, 15 December 2013

Known human Vibrio pathogens including V. parahaemolyticus and V. cholerae are sucrose-negative vibrios, and thus the ratio of abundance of suc- to suc+ Vibrios in an organism or geographic location have been used as a proxy in evaluating human (and non-human organisms, e.g., fish, shrimp, corals) health risks. Here, we studied the suc-/suc+ ratio of vibrios in Bolinao, Pangasinan at various time points and from different locations, including fish cages in Anda and open waters in Lucero. We observed that suc- vibrios predominate the gut of milkfish, as well as the sediments around fish cages. We also noticed that the abundance of suc- vibrios in the fishcage areas significantly rose after a fishkill event in July 2007, and persisted until October 2007, and that this rise was reflected in a nearby reef area. We therefore asked whether there are serious human health and environmental  concerns associated with the mlikfish farms, as the fish gut may serve as a breeding ground for potentially harmful bacteria. Based on our current findings, there appears to be no immediate concern, as markers for known toxin genes of pathogenic Vibrios were absent based on whole-genome analysis of a representative fish gut bacterium, although we did find other potential disease-associated genes that need to be further studied. However, whether the fish gut serves as an avenue for the exchange of toxin genes and other virulence factors that may not have been detected in our study remains to be answered. 

Link to the article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X13005547
Impact Factor: (2013/2014) 2.793

Francis A. Tablizo and Arturo O. Lluisma
Marine Science Institute
College of Science
UP Diliman

The Mitochondrial Genome of the Red Alga Kappaphycus striatus (“Green Sacol” Variety): Complete Nucleotide Sequence, Genome Structure and Organization, and Comparative Analysis. Marine Genomics, 18 (Part B): 155–161, December 2014.

The complete mitochondrial (mt) DNA sequence of the rhodophyte Kappaphycus striatus (“Green Sacol” variety) was determined in this study. The mtDNA is circular, 25,242 bases long (A + T content: 69.94%), and contains 50 densely packed genes comprising 93.22% of the mitochondrial genome, with genes encoded on both strands. Through comparative analysis, the overall sequence, genome structure, and organization of K. striatus mtDNA were seen to be highly similar with other fully sequenced mitochondrial genomes of the class Florideophyceae. On the other hand, certain degrees of genome rearrangements and greater sequence dissimilarities were observed for the mtDNAs of other evolutionarily distant red algae, such as those from the class Bangiophyceae and Cyanidiophyceae, compared to that of K. striatus. Furthermore, a trend was observed wherein the red algal mtDNAs tend to encode lesser number of protein-coding genes, albeit not necessarily shorter, as the organism becomes more morphologically complex.

Link to the article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1874778714000567
Impact Factor: (2013/2014) 1.971

Erik Paolo S. Capistrano
Cesar E.A. Virata School of Business
UP Diliman

Information Privacy Policies: The Effects of Policy Characteristics and Online Experience. Computer Standards & Interfaces, 42: 24–31, November 2015

Careful design of information privacy policies is one significant means to induce providing personal information. This research takes three design elements – length, visibility, and specificity – and tests their effectiveness to address information sensitivity, measuring perceived importance and relevance of the policy to decisions to share personal information. The experiment results show that visibility and specificity takes priority. Furthermore, high information sensitivity conditions induce higher perceptions of importance and relevance. Research implications suggest that managers should consider maximizing the benefits of these policy characteristics to induce consumers to read the policy and make it a significant consideration in sharing personal information.

Link to the article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0920548915000410
Impact Factor: (2013/2014) 1.177

Arturo O. Lluisma
Marine Science Institute

College of Science
UP Diliman

Novel Venom Peptides from the Cone Snail Conus pulicarius Discovered through Next-generation Sequencing of its Venom Duct Transcriptome. Marine Genomics, 5: 43–51, March 2012.

Catchy title of research: Novel venom peptides from the cone snail Conus pulicarius discovered through next-generation sequencing.

The venom of cone snails contain biologically active peptides that potentially can be used for therapeutic purposes in humans. These peptides are therefore of interest to the biomedical and biotechnological community. However, the process of discovering these peptides are slow. This article demonstrates the application of the so-called next-generation DNA sequencing technologies for speeding up the discovery process. Since the peptides are encoded by genes, they may be discovered via high-throughput DNA sequencing of gene transcripts (converted to cDNA) in the venom duct, the site of venom peptide production. This paper not only demonstrates the utility of this approach but also shows the high diversity of venom peptides in the snail Conus pulicarius.

Link to the article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1874778711000778
Impact Factor: (2012) 1.339

Armi R. Creencia, Bernadette C. Mendoza, Veronica P. Migo and Rosario G. Monsalud*
BIOTECH
Institute of Biological Sciences*
College of Arts and Sciences*
UP Los Baños

Degradation of Residual Jatropha Oil by a Promising Lipase-Producing Bacterial Consortium. Philippine Journal of Science, 143 (1): 73-79, June 2014.

The study involves the use of a mixed bacterial culture as a biodiesel wastewater treatment. This was done to address problems in wastewater disposal as a result of a high demand in petroleum alternatives. Three bacteria (Arthrobacter sp. BOcMJL-12, Bacillus cereus BDF-2 and Pseudoalteromonas sp. BOcMFW-2) with promising lipase activities (19.33, 35.67 and 19.50 U/ml, respectively) were evaluated for residual Jatropha oil degradation. Single- and mixed- culture set-ups of these bacteria were tested. The mixed-culture set-up containing the 3 bacteria had the highest oil degradation efficiency of 94.84%. Under partially optimized conditions, the mixed-culture was found to degrade up to 96.99% residual Jatropha oil after 7-8 days of culture incubation. This set-up may be used as an environment-friendly means of treating lipid-rich wastes.

Link to the article: http://philjournalsci.dost.gov.ph/vol143no1/pdf/degradation%20of%20residual%20jatropha%20oil%20by%20lipase.pdf
Impact Factor: Not yet available

Jomar F. Rabajante and Ariel L. Babierra
Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Physics
College of Arts and Sciences
UP Los Baños

Branching and Oscillations in the Epigenetic Landscape of Cell-fate Determination. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, 117 (2–3): 240–249, March 2015.

The well-known Waddington’s epigenetic landscape of cell-fate determination is not static but varies because of the dynamic gene regulation during development. However, existing mathematical models with few state variables and fixed parameters are inadequate in characterizing the temporal transformation of the landscape. Here we simulate a decision-switch model of gene regulation with more than two state variables and with time-varying repression among regulatory factors. We are able to demonstrate multi-lineage differentiation at different timescales that portrays the branching canals in Waddington’s illustration. We also present a repressilator-type system that activates suppressed genes via sustained oscillations in a flattened landscape, hence providing an alternative scheme for cellular reprogramming. The time-dependent parameters governed by gradient-based dynamics regulate cell differentiation, dedifferentiation and transdifferentiation. Our prediction integrates the theories of branching and structural oscillations in cell-fate determination, which reveals key temporal patterns of cell differentiation and associated diseases, such as cancer.

 

Link to the article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0079610715000073
Impact Factor: (2013/2014) 3.377

Pearlyn C. Manalo, Carla B. Dimalanta and Noelynna Ramos
National Institute of Geological Sciences
College of Science
UP Diliman

Crustal Thickness Variation from a Continental to an Island Arc Terrane: Clues from the Gravity Signatures of the Central Philippines. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 104: 205–214, 15 May 2015.

This study employs gravity method to determine how thick the crust is underneath the Central Philippines. The data include newly acquired ground gravity data combined with published offshore gravity data. Calculation of crustal thickness from gravity data revealed that the crust thins towards the east. The crust under Mindoro Island is at 32 km, while the crust under Masbate Island is at 21 km. Thickening of the crust is attributed to the ophiolite emplacement, while thinning may be caused by intra-arc rifting and intra-basin openings.

Link to the article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1367912014003836
Impact Factor: (2013/2014) 2.831

Carla B. Dimalanta, Ricky C. Salapare and Noelynna Ramos
National Institute of Geological Sciences
College of Science
UP Diliman

Post-emplacement History of the Zambales Ophiolite Complex: Insights from Petrography, Geochronology and Geochemistry of Neogene Clastic Rocks. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 104: 215–227, 15 May 2015.

The geology and geochemical signatures of sedimentary rocks in the Zambales region were studied. Petrochemical signatures suggest that as the younger sedimentary rocks are formed, sedimentary sources became more diversed. Rock samples were also sent for analysis that will determine their age of formation. The U-Pb analysis suggests a change in provenance from unroofing of an Early Eocene oceanic crust to contributions from an active volcanic arc during the Late Miocene.

Link to the article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1367912014003083
Impact Factor: (2013/2014) 2.831

Ricky C. Salapare, Carla B. Dimalanta, Noelynna Ramos and Pearlyn C. Manalo
National Institute of Geological Sciences
College of Science
UP Diliman

Upper Crustal Structure Beneath the Zambales Ophiolite Complex, Luzon, Philippines Inferred from Integrated Gravity, Magnetic and Geological Data. Geophysical Journal International, 201 (3): 1522-1533, June 2015.

Previous studies have suggested the existence of a fault between the Acoje and Coto Blocks of the Zambales Ophiolite complex in western Luzon, Philippines. However, no strong evidence has been previously presented. In this study, the authors employed gravity and magnetic techniques to determine the contrasting characteristics of the two blocks. The linear gradient coincident with change in geophysical characteristics of the two blocks suggests a presence of a large structure in between the two blocks. The rocks in the area where this gradient has been observed are heavily fractured, which may be correlated to the presence of a fault.

Link to the article: http://gji.oxfordjournals.org/content/201/3/1522.abstract
Impact Factor: (2013/2014) 2.724

Eduardo C. Tadem
Asian Center
UP Diliman

Technocracy and the Peasantry: Martial Law Development Paradigms and Philippine Agrarian Reform. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 45 (3): 394-418, 2015.

Catchy title of research: Technocrats and Peasants Under Martial Law: The Philippine Experience

During the martial law regime of Ferdinand Marcos (1972-1986), Filipino technocrats played a major role in conceptualizing and implementing development programs one of which was agrarian reform – billed as the “cornerstone” of a “New Society.” But for all its vaunted expertise, the Philippine technocracy failed to assure the success of land reform and may have even contributed to its dearth of accomplishment after fourteen years of lacklustre implementation. This failure can be traced to the application of a development paradigm pursued by Marcos and the technocrats with its inherent bias for elite big business concerns that clashed with the distributive justice and equity-based principles behind agrarian reform. Leading technocrats like Cesar Virata, Prime Minister and concurrent Finance Minister as well as chairman of the Land Bank of the Philippines, the agrarian program’s main financing institution, originally came from the academe but honed their skills in the corporate world, from where their mindsets became inextricably mired.

Link to the article: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00472336.2014.983538
Impact Factor: (2013/2014) 0.569

Jezie A. Acorda and Arville Mar Gregorio A. Pajas
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine

M-mode Echocardiographic Values in Male and Female Philippine Sheep (Ovis aries) (Artiodactyla: Bovidae) by Age and Status of Lactation and Pregnancy. Philippine Journal of Veterinary Medicine, 52 (1): 11-20, 2015.

Catchy title of research: Measurements of the different parts of the heart in sheep by age and status of lactation and pregnancy using ultrasound.

The Philippine native sheep can be used as food source and model for cardiac disorders. To establish baseline parameters of heart, 43 apparently healthy Philippine sheep, 18 male and 25 female, were utilized and ultrasound examination was performed. The animals were grouped by age into <1 year old, 1-2 years old and >2 years old.  The females were further classified into pregnant and non-pregnant, lactating and non-lactating. The heart was examined on the right thorax using an ultrasound machine. The different parts of the heart were identified. Significant differences in several parameters were observed between male and female Philippine native sheep and among different ages in both male and female animals. Differences were also observed between lactating and non-lactating and between pregnant and non-pregnant Philippine sheep. High correlations were found between most measurements of the heart and body weight in both male and female Philippine sheep. The measurements of the heart obtained in the study can be helpful in disease diagnosis and for utilizing the Philippine native sheep as a model for cardiac disorders considering sex, age and status of lactation and pregnancy.

Link to the article: 
Impact Factor: Not yet available

Rose Jane J. Peras and Juan M. Pulhin
Department of Social Forestry and Forest Governance
College of Forestry and Natural Resources
UP Los Baños

Local Stakeholders’ Assessment of Community-based Forest Management and the Implications for REDD Plus Implementation in the Philippines. Asia Life Sciences, 24 (1): 349-381, 2015.

The Philippines is one of the pioneers to adopt participatory approach in forest management, as embodied in its national strategy for sustainable forest management and social justice in the uplands, called Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM). The program’s almost three decades of implementation saw positive impacts on the livelihood assets of local communities. CBFM has evolved to tackle global concerns as well, such as climate change and biodiversity conservation. Meanwhile, international climate change negotiations have drawn a means to provide financial incentives to reduce deforestation and forest degradation through Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries (REDD Plus). This mechanism hopes to bring “triple benefits”, namely: emission reduction, biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation. Given their parallel goals, CBFM sites are promising candidates for implementing REDD Plus, and the latter is expected to have important implications on the process and potential outcomes of CBFM. This paper looks into the local stakeholders’ assessment of the impacts of CBFM on the livelihood assets of local communities and the potentials of REDD Plus implementation in the future. The literature is replete with examples emphasizing the importance of local stakeholder’s participation in REDD Plus, yet their perception particularly on the added value it gives remained unclear. Results of the study revealed that CBFM implementation contributed largely to building the capital assets of people organization (PO) members, especially the human, social, natural and physical capitals. Full positive effects have yet to be realized though for the financial capital. PO members and the local institutions (DENR, LGU, NGO) expressed optimism, though with varied levels, on REDD Plus further enhancing the above capital assets. This optimism, however, does not translate to confidence in achieving the triple-benefits, as risks are also perceived by PO members posed by the likely creation of forest enclosures that could limit areas for livelihood activities. If realized, improved economic conditions could also encourage in-migration that would increase pressure to the forests. Caution should therefore be exercised in implementing REDD Plus to ensure that the intended goals are achieved in the context of views and aspirations of local stakeholders.

Link to the article: 
Impact Factor: Not yet available

Dinah Pura T. Depositario
Department of Agribusiness Management and Entrepreneurship
College of Economics and Management
UP Los Baños

Revisiting Cash Endowment and House Money Effects in an Experimental Auction of a Novel Agri-food Product in the Philippines. Asian Economic Journal, 28 (2): 201–215, June 2014.

Catchy title of research: When higher cash endowments do not lead to decreased risk aversion:  The case of experimental auction bids for carabeef hotdog.

This study focused on assessing consumers’ valuation of a novel agri-foodproduct in the Philippines, carabeef hotdog.The study attempts to revisit and examine the effect of cash endowments, and, consequently,the house money effect, on bidding behavior in experimental auctions. The researchers specifically refer to the difference in bidding behavior due to the cash endowments as the ‘cash endowment effect’ and the increase in bids with increased cash endowments as the ‘house money effect’.With house money effects, subjects’ risk aversion is expected to decrease with additional cash  endowments, because the additional gains can cushion subsequent losses. This issue is important methodologically because if behavior varies significantly as the cash endowment is varied, then care must be taken when designing auction experiments or when comparing them to other experimental results and theoretical predictions. The effect of the cash endowment level on bidding behavior were examined under a most often- studied mechanism,  the second price auction, and compare the results with biddingbehavior under the random nth price auction.The authors hypothesize thatsubjects in developing countries would behave differently in regards to house money effects due to snake-bite or loss aversion effects (Thaler and Johnson, 1990). The results suggest thatcash endowment levels (i.e., 75 and 150 PHP) can have different effects on bidding behavior under secondprice auction and random nth price auction. In contrast to past studies conducted indeveloped countries, the researchers generally do not see the presence of positive house money effect in their results. 

Link to the article: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/asej.12033/abstract
Impact Factor: (2013/2014) 0.263

Viginia R. Ocampo and Barbara L. Caoili
Crop Protection Cluster
College of Agriculture
UP Los Baños

Entomopathogenic Characterization of Beauveria bassiana Fungi Against Tetranychus kanzawai (Kishida) (Tetranychidae: Acarina) Spider Mite by ITS Region. Thai Journal of Agricultural Science, 47 (1): 13-21, 2014.

Beauveria bassiana isolates were characterized in terms of their pathogenicity to Tetranychus kanzawai, cultural characteristics, infection process and phylogenetic relationship. The pathogenicity of the six isolates tested in decreasing order was Bb6 > Bb5 > Bb4 > Bb3 > Bb1 > Bb2. The three most virulent isolates were selected for morphological characterization. Both Bb4 and Bb5 isolates produced yellowish-white conidia while Bb 6 was white. The underside of the plates where Bb4 was grown was observed to produce a combination of brown and white coloration while those in Bb5 and Bb6 were both yellowish. Molecular phylogenetic analysis using ITS region revealed a very close relationship between Bb4 and Bb5 isolates since both are from Indonesia.

Link to the article: http://www.thaiagj.org/index.php/journal-online/year-2014/356-volume-47-2014.html
Impact Factor: Not yet available

Laarni Grace M. Corales*, Evelyn Mae Tecson-Mendoza and Eureka Teresa M. Ocampo
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology*
Crop Science Cluster
College of Medicine*
UP Manila*
UP Los Baños

Comparative Analysis of MADS-Box Genes Involved in Fruit Ripening of Philippine Banana Cultivars (Musa acuminata Colla and Musa balbisiana Colla). Philippine Agricultural Scientist, 97 (3): 217-228, September 2014.

Catchy title of research:  Getting “MADS” with Banana Cultivars Lakatan and Saba

MADS-box genes encode regulatory proteins that participate in many developmental processes in plants. Of the known MADS-box genes from banana fruit, only the MADS2 gene is involved in developmental control of fruit ripening. In this study, four isoforms or types of the MADS2 gene were isolated from the banana ‘Lakatan’ while two isoforms were isolated from the banana ‘Saba’. Two of the isoforms from ‘Lakatan’ had the exact same sequence in the portion of the gene that is translated into proteins. However, in these same gene isoforms, the portion that is not translated did not have the same exact sequence, some nucleotide bases were either deleted or inserted, and showed different DNA binding sites for proteins. These sites were identified to be involved in methyl jasmonate and abscisic acid response. Promoters, the DNA sequences that control the expression of a gene, for the MADS2 isoforms were also isolated. In ‘Lakatan’ and ‘Saba’, the DNA binding sites of regulatory proteins that respond to light and salicylic acid were found.

Link to the article: http://www.pas-uplbca.edu.ph/list_article.php?vol=39
Impact Factor: (2013/2014) 0.368

Ma. Josefa R. Pante
Marine Science Institute
College of Science
UP Diliman

Geometric Morphometric Analysis of Shell Shape Variation in Conus (Gastropoda: Conidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 165, (2): 296-310, June 2012.

Snail shells have a wide variety of shapes that has fascinated people for a long time. But aside from making them beautiful, biological shape is also an important indicator of evolutionary history and so may be used to distinguish among closely related species. Such is the case with the genus Conus, which is important both ecologically and medically, as its toxins are a source of pharmaceuticals. This study analyzed the shape of five species of Conus through photography of the shells and then analysis of shape through assignment of biologically important landmarks on the shell structure. The analysis, performed through a statistical software called Paleontological Statistics (PAST), shows a clear distinction among species based on shape. It is also apparent that the aperture (the shell opening through which the animal emerges) and the spire are the most important at distinguishing among species. Groupings of the species based on shape are consistent with those based on molecular data and feeding mode (i.e. fish-eating, mollusk-eating, worm-eating). Shape may thus be used to distinguish among snail species, and there is potential in creating programs that can use shape for this purpose.

Link to the article: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1096-3642.2011.00806.x/abstract
Impact Factor: (2012) 2.583

Cesar L. Villanoy and Olivia C. Cabrera
Marine Science Institute
College of Science
UP Diliman

Multiscale Influences on Extreme Winter Rainfall in the Philippines. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 120 (8): 3292–3309, 27 April 2015.

Catchy title of research: Extreme rainfall in 2008 in the Philippines: a confluence of synoptic events.

During 2007–2008, the Philippines experienced the greatest rainfall in 40 years. As expected from climatology, rainfall was greatest on the eastern side of the archipelago, with seasonal totals exceeding 4000mm in some locations. A moderate to strong La Niña increased the rainfall across the region. But discrete precipitation events delivered the bulk of the rain to the area and coincided with intense Madden-Julian oscillation activity over the archipelago and a late February cold surge. Direct observations were limited in this region. However, the government reported river flooding and evacuations in Mindoro during February 2008 as a result of significant rainfall. Understanding the reasons behind extreme rainfall events in the Philippines will contribute towards improving rainfall prediction associated with weather events. 

Link to the article: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014JD022645/full
Impact Factor: Not yet available

Aries A. Arugay
Department of Political Science
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
UP Diliman

The Middle Class and Democracy in Southeast Asia” in Routledge Handbook of Southeast Asian Democratization. William Case (editor). London and New York: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group, 2015.

Antonio G. Lalusin and Maria Lea H. Villavicencio
Crop Science Cluster
College of Agriculture
UP Los Baños

Abaca (Musa textlis Nee) Breeding in the Philippines” in Industrial Crops: Breeding for BioEnergy and Bioproducts. Von Mark V. Cruz and David A. Dierig (editors). New York, USA: Springer, 2015.

Romar B. de la Cruz
Institute of Mathematics
College of Science

The Minimum Number of Minimal Codewords in an [n, k]-code and in Graphic Codes. Discrete Applied Mathematics, 184: 32–39, 31 March 2015.

We study in this paper a class of error-correcting codes,the binary linear codes.  Error-correctingcodesareusedwhensendingorstoringdatathroughnoisychannels.  Given the length and dimension, we look into the minimum number of minimal codewords in a binary linear code.  We study lower bounds on the aforementioned number.  We also compute the exact value for certain lengths and dimensions.  Minimal codewords are used in secret sharing schemes and decoding algorithms.

Link to the article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166218X14005150
Impact Factor: 

Glenn L. Sia Su*, Mary Ann C. Sison and Teresita De Guzman
Department of Biology*
Department of Medical Microbiology
College of Arts and Sciences*
College of Public Health

Bacteriological and Parasitological Assessment of Currencies Obtained in Selected Markets of Metro Manila. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease, 5 (6): 468–470, June 2015.

Catchy title of research: Microbial contamination of money in markets.

This study assessed the bacterial and parasitic contamination of coins and paper bills obtained in selected public markets of Metro Manila. Money collected from the markets was assessed through culture, microscopy and biochemical tests. Results showed that the prevalence of bacterial contamination (70.00%) was higher than that of parasitic contamination (11.67%). Paper bills were more contaminated with bacteria and parasites compared with coins examined. Money with low denominations had more bacterial and parasitic contamination. Findings indicated that money could be a potential vehicle for the transmission of diseases. There is a need to safeguard oneself from the possible sources of infection that one can get even from money circulating in the market systems. 

Link to the article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2222180815608179
Impact Factor: Not yet available

Augusto E. Serrano Jr.*, Rena B. Santizo and Barry Leonard M. Tumbokon
NIMBB*
Institute of Aquaculture
College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
UP Visayas

Potential use of the Sea Lettuce Ulva lactuca Replacing Soybean Meal in the Diet of the Black Tiger Shrimp Penaeus monodon Juvenile. AACL Bioflux, 8 (3): 245-252, 2015.

Catchy title of research: The sea lettuce Ulva lactuca promotes the growth of the shrimp Penaeus monodon.

To evaluate the sea lettuce Ulva lactuca meal as ingredient in the diet of the black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon), 3 diets were fed to groups of shrimps containing two levels (15% and 30% replacement of soybean meal) of the sea lettuce for 90 days. Growth rate  of shrimp fed the control diet and those fed with the diet containing 15% replacement were similar while that of shrimp fed 30% soybean replacement was slightly inferior. Survival rate, feed intake, food conversion efficiency, protein efficiency ratio protein and lipid deposited and body composition were all similar between the experimental groups of shrimp. As a conclusion, the 30% replacement level or 10.5% inclusion level could be used in the diet of the shrimp P. monodon. When performances were compared with the best result in incorporating U. lactuca protein concentrate from a previous study and that in the present study (both were 30% replacement or 10.5 inclusion level), they were similar. Thus, the raw U. lactuca meal is recommended because it did not require additional processing to produce the concentrated seaweed.

Link to the article: 
Impact Factor: Not yet available

Dino Angelo Ramos
Institute of Biology
College of Science
UP Diliman

Sea Anemones of Singapore: Synpeachia temasek New Genus, and Redescription of Metapeachia tropica (Cnidaria: Actiniaria: Haloclavidae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 127 (3): 439-454, October 2014.

Catchy title of research: Describing a new species of sea anemone in Singapore and re-evaluation of the tropical burrowing anemone.

The sandy shores of Singapore are home to a diverse community of sea anemones. Despite the small size of the country and its surrounding islands, new species are still being discovered emphasizing the importance of preserving the habitats of these creatures which are often affected by reclamation. This study redescribes a species of burrowing anemone (Metapeachia tropica) previously recorded in Singapore but without any details on appearance or location. This anemone has a cream-colored column, a patterned oral disc, 16 tentacles, and a conchula (lobed, cylindrical structure protruding from mouth). A new species of burrowing anemone which sometimes occurrs together with M. tropica was given the new genus and species name Synpeachia temasek. This anemone has a reddish-brown column, an oral disc that can be patterned like that of M. tropica, 20 tentacles, and a conchula. Both of the anemones discussed are part of the Family Haloclavidae. A key is provided to help differentiate some members of the Haloclavidae from the new genus.

Link to the article: 
Impact Factor: Not yet available

Darryl Joy C. Juntila, Ma. Anita M. Bautista and Wilberto D. Monotilla
National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
College of Science
UP Diliman

Biomass and Lipid Production of a Local Isolate Chlorella sorokiniana under Mixotrophic Growth Conditions. Bioresource Technology, 191: 395–398, September 2015.

Catchy title of research: Philippine micro-algae can produce oil for bio-diesel.

An isolate of microalgae from UP Diliman wastewaters had 97% rbcL sequence identity to Chlorella sorokiniana and was evaluated in terms of its biomass and lipid production under combined light and additional glucose (mixotrophic) growth conditions. Glucose-supplemented cultures exhibited increasing growth rate and biomass yield with increasing glucose concentration. Highest growth rate and biomass yield were achieved under 2 g per liter of glucose. Nitrogen starvation of up to 75% in the 1.0 g per liter glucose-supplemented culture was done to induce lipid accumulation and did not significantly affect the growth. Lipid content ranges from 20% to 27% dry weight. Nile Red staining showed more prominent neutral lipid bodies in starved mixotrophic cultures. C. sorokiniana exhibited enhanced biomass production under mixotrophy and more prominent neutral lipid accumulation under nitrogen starvation with no significant decrease in growth; hence, this isolate could be further studied to establish its potential for biodiesel production.

Link to the article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960852415004307
Impact Factor: (2014/2015) 4.494

Emilia A. Lastica and Jezie A. Acorda
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
UP Los Baños

Ultrasound Features of the Liver, Gallbladder and Spleen of Male and Female Monitor Lizards (Varanus marmoratus Weigmann, 1834) (Reptilia: Varanidae). Philippine Journal of Veterinary Medicine, 51 (2): 89-96, 2014. 

Catchy title of research: Ultrasound Features in Monitor Lizards.

Twelve apparently healthy Philippine monitor lizards (Varanus marmoratus Weigman, 1834) were examined using an ultrasound machine to determine the ultrasonographic features of their liver, gallbladder and spleen.  Ultrasound images are seen as black and white reflections of the organs examined. Differences in the organs can be determined by how dark or light the images are.  The animals were grouped by size (four large and eight small) and sex (eight male and four female).  The appearance on ultrasound, dimension and brightness of the images produced by scanning these organs were recorded.  The liver body showed dark gray images without an obvious outline, whilst the central liver vein was shown by a very dark and long structure inside the liver image.  The gallbladder was seen as a round or oblong dark structure above the spleen.  The spleen was observed to be ovoid and appeared lighter grey compared to the liver.  There were no significant differences in the measurements and levels of brightness of the organ images among sex and sizes, except that larger animals have bigger livers compared to the smaller ones.  The results of this study can be used as a basis to determine disorders and diseases in monitor lizards.

Link to the article: http://journals.uplb.edu.ph/index.php/PJVM/article/view/1260
Impact Factor: Not yet available

Joseph R. Bunao and Eric A. Galapon
National Institute of Physics
College of Science
UP Diliman

A Relativistic One-particle Time of Arrival Operator for a Free Spin-1/2 Particle in (1+1) Dimensions. Annals of Physics, 356: 369–382, May 2015. 

Catchy title of research: Quantum Time for Relativistic Spin-1/2 Particles.

How fast can a message be delivered? Everyday experience tells us that in order for a message to arrive quicker, we just need a faster messenger. Considering special relativity and quantum mechanics introduces further complications. If we consider the message to be carried by particles, special relativity imposes a minimum on the arrival time of the particles and quantum mechanics introduces uncertainties to that arrival time. This study allows us to construct a mathematical object (a quantum operator) which can determine how many spin-1/2 particles can arrive at a certain time. As a follow up on a previous study on spinless particles, it turns out that the message carried by these particles still arrives later than that carried by light.

Link to the article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000349161500113X
Impact Factor: (2014/2015) 2.103

Edwino S. Fernando and Marilyn O. Quimado
Department of Forest Biological Sciences
College of Forestry and Natural Resources
UP Los Baños

Rinorea niccolifera (Violaceae), A New, Nickel-hyperaccumulating Species from Luzon Island, Philippines. Phytokeys, 37: 1-13, 2014.

Catchy title of research: New species of metal-eating plant discovered in the Philippines.

Scientists from the University of the Philippines – Los Baños have discovered a new plant species with an unusual lifestyle — it eats nickel for a living — accumulating up to 18,000 ppm of the metal in its leaves without itself being poisoned, says Professor Edwino Fernando, lead author of the report. Such an amount is a hundred to a thousand times higher than in most other plants. The study was published in the scientific journal PhytoKeys. The new species is named Rinoreaniccolifera, reflecting its ability to absorb nickel in very high amounts. It was discovered in western Luzon, in the Philippines, an area known for soils rich in heavy metals. Nickel hyperaccumulation is such a rare phenomenon with only about 0.5–1% of plant species native to nickel-rich soils having been recorded to exhibit the ability. Throughout the world, only about 450 plant species are known with this unusual trait, which is still a small proportion of the estimated 300,000 species of vascular plants. Hyperacccumulator plants have great potentials for the development of green technologies, for example, ‘phytoremediation’ and ‘phytomining’.  Phytoremediation is the use of hyperacccumulator plants to remove heavy metals from contaminated soils. Phytomining, on the other hand, is the use of hyperacccumulator plants to grow and harvest in order to recover commercially valuable metals in plant shoots from metal-rich sites. The work of the scientists are part of the research project funded by the DOST – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).

Link to the article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4023331/
Impact Factor: Not yet available

Hilario S. Taberna Jr.
Department of Chemistry
College of Arts And Sciences
UP Visayas

Relative Atomic Variation (RAV) and Correlation of Elements: Qualitative Tools in the Assessment of Metal Contamination in Estuarine Sediments. AES Bioflux, 7 (1): 41-51, 2015.

This study demonstrated the use of RAV approach in identifying metal contamination in estuarine sediments where meaningful cores for the metal background concentration determinations are relatively difficult to obtain. Also, the use of correlation coefficients to establish the links between the metal and its carrier substances was also applied. The study area was divided into 3 sub-areas with 20 samples each representing the upper (agricultural-residential), middle (residential-commercial), and mouth (commercial-industrial) channels of the estuary. Results show that the metal levels in 3 different areas did not vary much from each other. Thus, it is difficult to identify the area of most concern with regards to heavy metal contamination. In order to address this problem, the indices of relative atomic variations (RAV) of metals in 3 different areas were determined. It was found out that RAV values determined for uncontaminated areas are in agreement with the reported metal/Al ratios of average continental rock and soils. Cr, Cu, Zn, Ni, and V enrichments were identified to occur in the commercial-industrial area while that of Co was identified in the agricultural-residential area. Environmentally available elements bind in surface sediments of the estuary either by sorption, coprecipitation with hydrous Fe/Mn oxides, and complexation and flocculation with organic matter or by combination of 2 or all of these processes.

Link to the article: http://www.aes.bioflux.com.ro/home/volume-7-1-2015/
Impact Factor: Not yet available

Jerrold M. Tubay
Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Physics
College of Arts and Sciences
UP Los Baños

The Paradox of Enrichment in Phytoplankton by Induced Competitive Interactions. Scientific Reports, 3: 2835, 8 pages, October 2013.

Catchy title of research: The paradox of enrichment in phytoplankton by induced competitive interactions.

The biodiversity loss of phytoplankton with eutrophication has been reported in many aquatic ecosystems, e.g., water pollution and red tides. This phenomenon seems similar, but different from the paradox of enrichment via trophic interactions, e.g., predator-prey systems. We here propose the paradox of enrichment by induced competitive interactions using multiple contact process (a lattice Lotka-Volterra competition model). Simulation results demonstrate how eutrophication invokes more competitions in a competitive ecosystem resulting in the loss of phytoplankton diversity in ecological time. The paradox is enhanced under local interactions, indicating that the limited dispersal of phytoplankton reduces interspecific competition greatly. Thus, the paradox of enrichment appears when eutrophication destroys an ecosystem either by elevated interspecific competition within a trophic level and/or destabilization by trophic interactions. Unless eutrophication due to human activities is ceased, the world’s aquatic ecosystems will be at risk.

Link to the article: http://www.nature.com/srep/2013/131003/srep02835/full/srep02835.html
Impact Factor: (2013) 5.078

Benjamin Francis P. Rodriguez Jr., Regielene S. Gonzales and Lillian Jennifer V. Rodriguez
Institute of Biology
College of Science
UP Diliman

Fig Wasps of Philippine Ficus microcarpa L.: Diversity and Trophic Structure in an Urban Setting. Philippine Agricultural Scientist, 98 (1): 15-22, March 2015.

Catchy title of research: Wasps of an Urban Fig Species, Ficus microcarpa.

Ficus microcarpa is a strangling fig or what we call balete in Filipino. It is native to the Philippines but has become invasive in other parts of the world. Figs are unique because they can only be pollinated by fig wasps. Pollinator fig wasps lay eggs in some flowers while pollinating them. Other fig wasps lay their eggs on flowers but do not pollinate, making them parasites. We aimed to study the fig wasps of F. microcarpa to expand our knowledge of Philippine fig wasps and to see if the parasites could be used to curb tree invasiveness. Collection of fruits in the UP Diliman campus revealed three fig wasp species. Sticky traps showed that Eupristina verticillata (the pollinators) visit the trees for one to two days and Sycoryctes moneres and Philotrypesis taiwanensis wasps (the parasites) visit about a week after the pollinators. Wasp introduction experiments confirmed the dependence of the two parasitic species on the presence of the pollinators. While the parasites do not affect pollinator numbers to be able to curb fig tree invasiveness, this study brings to light the interactions of these fig wasp species in an urban setting in the Philippines.

Link to the article: http://www.pas-uplbca.edu.ph/article.php?id=471
Impact Factor: (2014/2015) 0.256

Antonio A. Paguirigan Jr. and Rene C. Batac
National Institute of Physics
College of Science
UP Diliman

Loss of Criticality in the Avalanche Statistics of Sandpiles with Dissipative Sites. Communications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulation, 20 (3): 785–793, March 2015.

Catchy title of research: How physical impediments affect avalanches – implications from numerical models.

How do we reinforce a slope to make it less vulnerable to surficial flows and avalanches? We oftentimes use physical impediments, which are either man-made (e.g. walls) or natural (e.g. root network of trees). Needless to say, it is impractical, if not impossible, to reinforce an entire mountainside; we can only use a few fortifications that should be well-positioned. In this paper, the authors explored the avalanching behavior of the sandpile model, which is inspired by actual granular material flows. One important result of the work is that, for the case of low-density impediments, there is no optimal configuration that can successfully minimize the avalanche behavior; the probability of occurrence of large-scale flows remains the same. This is due to the self-organized nature of the sandpile model: a few physical dissipative elements are not enough to destroy the long-range spatial correlation of the grid sites. If the same mechanisms are at work in nature, the authors believe that the key to reinforcing avalanche-prone areas still lies in the quantity, i.e. high density of physical stabilization mechanisms used.

Link to the article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1007570414002834
Impact Factor: (2014/2015) 2.866

Katherine Ann T. Castillo-Israel*, Edralina P. Serrano, Wella L. Absulio and James Bryan L. Gandia
Food Science Cluster*
Crop Science Cluster
College of Agriculture
UP Los Baños

Efficacy of 1-Methylcyclopropene Post-cutting Treatment on Fresh-cut Papaya (Carica papaya L. cv. ‘Sinta’) Storage Quality using Two Packaging Forms. International Food Research Journal, 22 (3): 910-917, 2015.

Catchy title of research: 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) post-cutting treatment on fresh-cut papaya (Carica papaya L. cv. ‘Sinta’) affects its storage quality.

1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) is a t\postharvest tool being used to extend shelf-life of horticultural crops. Its common application is on intact fruits but recently have laso been tested on fresh-cut fruits. The study was conducted to determine the efficacy of 1-methylcyclopropene post-cutting treatment on fresh-cut ‘Sinta’ papaya (Carica papaya L. cv. ‘Sinta’) in maintaining its storage quality using two packaging forms commonly used commercially namely PET plastic tray wrapped with LDPE stretchable plastic film, and PET clamshell plastic containers. Fresh-cut ‘Sinta’ papaya cubes at Peel Colour Index 5 (yellow with tinge of green) were packaged using plastic tray wrapped with plastic film and clamshell plastic containers.1-MCP gas was introduced post-cutting inside the packaging to a final concentration of 2.5 nL L-1. The fresh-cuts were stored at 100oC and 95% RH. In both packaging types, lower PG activity and total reducing sugars were observed in 1-MCP treatments compared with controls at certain storage days. In plastic tray-film packaging, lower HS-C2H4 levels were observed in 1-MCP treated fresh-cuts compared with the control. In clamshell packaging, significant differences in water-soaking, luminosity and VQR at days 2 and 3 were observed between 1-MCP treated and control fruits. All of the treatments, on day 2 of storage, complied with European Union countries’ limits on aerobic plate counts (7 log), yeasts and molds counts (5 log) and coliform counts (3 log). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study on the efficacy of 1-MCP post-cutting treatment on fresh-cut papaya of the ‘Sinta’ variety and also the use in a 1-MCP study of the packaging forms mentioned.

Link to the article: www.ifrj.upm.edu.my/22(03)2015/(5).pdf 
Impact Factor: Not yet available

Dino Angelo E. Ramos, Lemnuel V. Aragones and Rene N. Rollon
Institute of Biology
Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology
College of Science
UP Diliman

Linking Integrity of Coastal Habitats and Fisheries Yield in the Mantalip Reef System. Ocean & Coastal Management, 111: 62–71, July 2015.

The importance of mangroves, seagrass and coral reefs in supplying small-scale fisheries

Mangroves, seagrass and corals all provide fishery products individually but they are more productive when occurring together due to access to more types of habitat and resources. Although this is accepted as common knowledge, there are actually very few studies which look at this aspect for fisheries in the Philippines. Management of fisheries typically involves the creation of marine protected areas for coral reefs only since it is the most frequently fished habitat. However, not including mangroves and seagrass under protection would reduce total fish production if these were degraded or destroyed by human activities. This study looks at the movement of fish through different habitats in the Mantalip Reef System in Negros Oriental and provides insights in integrated management of their coastal resources and artisanal fisheries. Only 13.97% of all reef fish were found using multiple habitats, but these included commercially important fish such as groupers and rabbitfish whose juveniles were abundant in mangroves and seagrass. This implies that fish moved from one habitat to another during development and loss of one would probably result in a reduced populations as well. Estimated fisheries productivity of the coral reefs were not enough to supply fishing demand but appears to be much higher due to contributions from the mangroves and seagrass. This study underlines the importance of maintaining the connections of coastal habitats to sustain fisheries demand in the Mantalip Reef System. Results of the study have guided the review of the municipal fisheries ordinance and MPA management plans.

Link to the article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0964569115001027
Impact Factor: (2014/2015) 1.748