IPA Awardees for November 2012

Orville L. Bondoc
Animal Dairy Sciences Cluster
College of Agriculture
UP Los Baños

Genetic diversity and relationship of common poultry breeds and strains (Class Aves) in the Philippines based on cytochrome C oxidase I gene sequence. ASIA LIFE SCIENCES 22(1): 21-39, 2013 The Asian International Journal of Life Sciences.

Initially used as a global standard for rapid species identification and taxonomic classification by the Consortium on the Barcode of Life (CBoL), DNA barcodes (i.e. a segment of mitochondrial DNA called cytochrome c oxidase subunit I or COI gene) were found to be effective basis to identify and differentiate between poultry breeds and strains of most poultry families and species especially chickens, quails, turkey, ducks and pigeons sampled in the Philippines. Average genetic variation of COI sequences within family was highest among Phasianidae – chickens and quails, followed by Anatidae – ducks and geese, Columbidae – pigeons and Meleagrididae – turkey.
DNA barcodes may be generated locally to contribute to greater reference genetic information useful to proper labeling of poultry food products towards food authentication and to accurate identification and protection of rare or endangered poultry species, breeds or strains.

Link to the article: http://journals.uplb.edu.ph/index.php/ALS/article/viewFile/784/718

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Roland M. Hipol
Department of Biology
College of Science
UP Baguio

Molecular Identification and Phylogenetic Affinity of Two Growth Promoting Fungal Endophytes of Sweet Potato (Ipomea batatas (L.) Lam.) from Baguio City, Philippines. Hipol R.M. 2012.  Electronic Journal of Biology, 8 (3): 57-61, 2012

The research was done on a common backyard cash-crop of the Cordillera. Sweet potato is integral to the subsistence of the common folk for it serves as the chief source of nutrition when waiting for the harvest. The primary objective of this research is to determine the identities of fungi living within the tissues (endophytic fungi) of sweet potato through molecular means and assay these for growth promoting properties through the production of growth promoting plant hormones; specifically gibberellin.
Two isolates successfully promoted growth as assayed in rice plant seedlings treated with paclobutrazol, a compound that inhibits the production of gibberellins. Through the isolation of the Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) region, the isolates were identified as Fusarium sp and Emericella nidulans. Endophytic fungi that promote growth are of great agronomic importance to enhance crop yield and quality. These fungi can affect plant development as well as support plant growth in instances of biotic and abiotic stresses such as herbivory, heat, salt, disease, and drought. This research provides helpful information on the possible role of fungal endophytes in the growth of plants. The results have important implications to the agronomic management of both sweet potato and rice (the test plant for the growth promotion assay). However, further experiments must be made to make sure that the isolates are truly mutualists and are not latent pathogens. The successful application of these isolates and all other beneficial microorganisms as agronomic amendments depend on our understanding of their behavior in the plant host.

Link to the article: http://www.ejbio.com/pps/2012/57.

Maria Luisa D. Guevarra, Rodel G. Maghirang and Nenita L. Opina
Institute of Plant Breeding
Crop Science Cluster
UP Los Baños

“Mamburao” A New Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) Variety. Guevarra MLD, Maghirang RG, Opina NL. 2012. Variety. Philipp J Crop Sci (37)2:81-85.

A new eggplant variety “Mamburao” was developed at the Institute of Plant Breeding, Crop Science Cluster, UP Los Banos and released by the National Seed Industry Council of the Department of Agriculture for utilization of local farmers. This is a purple-type variety with medium sized fruits. The average fruit length is 16.9 cm, diameter of 3.3 cm, and weight ranging from 69.42 to 74.00 g. It can be harvested 68 days after transplanting with marketable yield of 13.35 and 16.61 tons per ha during the dry and wet season respectively. It has higher yield compare to the check varieties, Batangas Long Purple and Dumaguete Long Purple. “Mamburao” grows in a wide range of environment and highly adaptable both for the wet and dry season production. It was also observed to be resistant to bacterial wilt.

Link to the article: http://cssp.org.ph/

Edwin P. Alcantara
National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
UP Los Baños

Postcommercialization Monitoring of the Long-Term Impact of Bt Corn on Non-Target Arthropod Communities in Commercial Farms and Adjacent Riparian Areas in the Philippines. Environmental Entomology 41(5):1268-1276. 2012.

An on-farm study was conducted in the Philippines between 2006 and 2009 to determine if there are any long term impacts of Bt corn on the arthropod community on commercial farms and in adjacent riparian areas. Arthropod counts were gathered by visual inspection of corn plants in three pairs of commercial farms and by sweep sampling in riparian sites close by. Sampling showed that species composition between Bt and non-Bt corn and between riparian areas adjacent to Bt or non-Bt corn were similar. Statistical analyses showed that there were no adverse effects of Bt corn on the abundance of natural enemies either in crops or adjacent riparian sites. The frequently observed natural enemies in Bt corn were the predatory coccinellid beetle, Micraspis discolor (F.) and spiders (Araneae). Arthropod diversity was similar 1) in Bt- and non-Bt corn and 2) the adjacent riparian areas. Taken together, the two parts of this study show that Bt corn does not have any long-term adverse effect on arthropod communities in corn (Zea mays L.) or in adjacent riparian ecosystems. The methods and results described in this study will be useful to Philippine government regulators in
making recommendations and policy guidelines related to monitoring for environmental effects of transgenic crops. The current study did not attempt to demonstrate the direct exposure of arthropods in riparian sites to transgenic Cry1Ab protein that might come from adjacent Bt corn fields; that would require different experimental methods but the current study suggests such effects are unlikely.

Link to the article: http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1603/EN10297

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Joel M. Addawe and Jose Ernie C. Lope
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
UP Baguio
Institute of Mathematics
UP Diliman

Analysis of age-structured malaria transmission model. Addawe J, Lope JE. 2012. Philippine Science Letters. 5(2):169-186.

In this paper, we propose a mathematical model to study the dynamics of malaria in an age-structured human host. Our model divides the human population into two compartments: pre-school (0-5 years) and the rest of the human population. The results of our mathematical analysis indicate that the disease-free equilibrium solution to
the system does not change whenever the change in magnitude of the initial condition is sufficiently small. This phenomenon occurs when the basic reproduction rate is less than unity. For reproduction rate greater than 1, the disease-free equilibrium point is unstable. Using published demographic epidemiological parameters, our numerical simulations suggest that a unique, stable endemic equilibrium exists.

Link to the article: http://www.philsciletters.org/article.2012n2.18p20.htm

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Edwin P. Alcantara
National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
UP Los Baños

Tier I testing of Cry1Ab protein on Micraspis discolor (Fab.) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) and evaluation of its functional response to different prey types. Philippine Entomologist 25 (2): 122-130 ISSN 0048-3753 October 2011.

Bt corn was approved for commercial propagation in the Philippines in December 2002. After almost 10 years , farmer adoption of Bt corn continues to increase. The sustainability of Bt corn as a viable option in food production is dependent on many factors, one of which is the effect on non-target (beneficial) organisms. Non-target effects can be evaluated through experiments designed to identify hazard, determine level and route of exposure and assess if hazard constitute a risk. After the choice
of an indicator non-target species has been made, studies to determine sensitivity to Bt corn and to assess the risk from its ingestion is required. Tier I testing is conducted to determine acute toxicity of Cry1Ab protein to the predatory beetle Micraspis discolor. Cry1Ab is the transgenic protein present in Bt corn. Tier I test did not reveal significant toxicity of Cry1Ab protein to M. discolor. Feeding assays were conducted to determine if ingestion of Bt corn pollen will significantly diminish the predatory rate
and alter the type of functional response of M. Discolor. Functional response refers refer to the change in the number of preys consumed per unit of time, as a function of prey density. The results of feeding assays showed that ingestion of Bt corn pollen did not decrease the predatory rate of M. discolor nor alter its functional response to corn leaf aphid and Asian corn borer.

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Aileen N. Bayot and Edwin P. Alcantara

National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
UP Los Baños

Protein engineering of Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1Ab δ-endotoxin. Philippine Entomologist 25 (2): 175-186 ISSN 0048-3753 October 2011.

Bacillus thuringiensis is a soil microorganism that produces insecticidal proteins. These proteins are produced as crystalline inclusion bodies inside the bacterium. They are also called Cry proteins. Cry proteins need to be ingested to observe its highly specific insecticidal effect on target insects. One target insect, the diamondback moth Plutella xylostella is very destructive to crucifers. It is also the first insect to gain field-evolved resistance to commercial preparations of B. thuringiensis. The main objective of the present study is to create a modified Cry protein with improved toxicity to diamondback moth. The objective of the study is realized by employing a molecular genetic technique called site- directed mutagenesis. This technique can introduce specific changes anywhere in the protein by altering the corresponding cry gene. In this study, an amino acid (Phenylalanine) in the Cry protein region which is responsible for binding to target site in the diamondback moth gut is replaced with another amino acid called Proline. The resulting modified Cry protein is called F371P. Proline is thought to enhance insertion of the protein in the cell membrane in the gut of the target insect. This assumption is proven correct by the bioassay results of the present study. By feeding the diamondback moth larvae with cabbage leaves dip in solution containing the F371P Cry protein, 500- to more than 1000-fold increase in toxicity is observed.

Arnold R. Elepaño
College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology
UP Los Baños

Aroma Loss in Rice as Affected by Various Conditions during Postharvest Operations. BARADI MAU, ELEPAÑO AR. 2012. The Philippine Agricultural Scientist 95(3):260-266.

One of the attributes that contribute to the overall rice quality is its aroma. Aromatic rice has become popular and continues to command higher price than ordinary rice because of their distinctive pleasant scent. Freshly harvested fragrant rice exhibits strong aromatic scent but decreases with time and conditions during drying, storage and milling. Of the many volatile compounds in aromatic rice, 2-acetyl- 1-pyrroline (2AP) is a major compound that gives rice its popcorn-like aroma. The loss of aroma in aromatic rice is what researchers aim to minimize.
The loss of 2AP in rice at various conditions during drying, storage and milling were investigated. Palay dried at 55°C air temperature had greater aroma loss than those
dried at lower air temperature. Samples stored at higher temperature (27°C) recorded higher 2AP loss than those kept at lower temperature (15°C). Data for drying air temperature of 35°C exhibited increased aroma loss because of the long drying duration compared with higher drying air temperature (45°C). Storage experiments indicated a rapid loss of 2AP during the first five weeks of storage and subsequently leveled off afterwards, attaining the level of starch bound 2AP.
The amount of 2AP in rice decreases with time. The free 2AP, being volatile, is lost due to diffusion. Some semi-empirical equations that explain the loss of aroma as affected by temperature and duration were also developed. The study could guide processors in understanding and controlling the parameters in drying, storage and milling operations to produce high quality rice.

Link to the article: www.pas-uplbca.edu.ph

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Teodora D. Balangcod, Vilma L. Vallejo, Melba Patacsil, Orlando Apostol and Rosemary M. Gutierrez
College of Science
UP Baguio

Phytochemical screening and Antimicrobial activity of selected medicinal plants of  Bayabas, Sablan, Benguet Province, Cordillera Administrative Region, Luzon, Philippines. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge Volume II (4) October 2012, pp. 580-585.

The current drugs and medicines that we use today trace its roots to the traditional knowledge of local communities. From the ethnobotanical survey conducted in Bayabas, Sablan, the traditional medicinal plants were documented, samples collected and the methanolic extracts were tested for their antibacterial potential. The biochemical components were  screened qualitatively.  The antibacterial potential of the plants was done using disc-diffusion method against four bacteria namely Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Salmonella typhimurium. The different plants gave varying results on the four microorganisms tested. Qualitative phytochemical screening tests for saponins, alkaloids,glycosides, anthraquinones, steroids, flavonoids and tannins were also performed on the methanolic extracts. Bidens pilosa, Tithonia diversifolia and other plants gave promising results as antibacterial. Information from this study provides not only documentation of traditional plants in Bayabas, Sablan but it also offer a scientific basis for the use of the medicinal plants. A spin-off of this study would be the development of plant-based medicines.

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Teodora D. Balangcod
College of Science
UP Baguio

Trichome micromorphology of the Chinese-Himalayan genus Colquhounia (Lamiaceae), with emphasis on taxonomic implications. BIOLOGIA. Vol. 67(5), October 2012, pp. 864-874.

Taxonomic studies on various plant taxa are important as these provide a basic understanding of plant classification. The similarities in the morphological traits such as the trichomes can indicate relationships. Trichomes are very important and useful taxonomic characters. These occur in all parts of some Lamiaceae genera.  Using light and scanning microscopy, there are two general types of trichomes that are recognized in Colquhounia, glandular and eglandular. Several subclassifications of these two types also exist. Results show that trichome diversity can provide insights into infrageneric classification.

Link to the article: http://link.springer.com/article/10.2478/s11756-012-0076-z?null

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Jenielyn T. Padrones, Rose Ann B. Concepcion, Carla Dimalanta and Decibel V. Faustino-Eslava
National Institute of Geological Sciences
College of Science
UP Diliman

Geology of northwestern Mindoro and its offshore islands: Implications for terrane accretion in west Central Philippines. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 61: 78–87, November 2012

Northwest Mindoro is previously delineated as part of  the Philippine Mobile Belt, which is translated in its present position from the Indian Australian plate. The rest of the island is proposed to be part of the Palawan Continental Block. This research highlights the two collision events that lead to the formation of northwest Mindoro and its offshore islands. The first collision involved the subduction of the oceanic plate (Izanagi) beneath the southeastern Eurasian margin during the Cretaceous which gave rise to the Halcon Metamorphics. It is also the first time that the previously named Mangyan Ophiolitic Complex is mapped as part of this metamorphic belt. The second collision occurred during the amalgamation of the Amnay Ophiolite in the Middle Miocene. Thus, two terranes, the Halcon Metamorphics and Amnay Ophiolite are identified.

Link to the article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S136791201200345
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