IPA Recipients for March 2020

Margaret M. Calderon
Institute of Renewable Natural Resources
College of Forestry and Natural Resources
UP Los Baños

The Effects of Petroleum Product Price Regulation on Macroeconomic Stability in China, Energy Policy, 132: 96-105, 2019

Petroleum products are important to all countries – various sectors of society have become dependent on these products for all kinds of economic activities. The growing scarcity of fossil fuel has resulted in increasing petroleum product prices (PPP), and countries closely monitor fluctuations in world crudeoil prices (WCOP), especially when there are world oil price shocks. China is no different, and it has undertaken measures to regulate the prices of petroleum products since 1998 to cushion the impacts of these price shocks on its macroeconomy. Despite the many studies already conducted in this field, there have been few, if any, studies that focused on the effects of price regulation on the macroeconomy under different world oil price fluctuation regimes.

This study analyzed the mechanisms of PPP regulation in the case of gasoline and the transmission mechanism of WCOP-PPP volatility, quantified the effects of PPP regulation in reducing oil price volatility, and estimated the stabilization effect of PPP regulation on China’s macroeconomy under different price regimes. The study found that world crude oil fluctuates in the mild-fluctuation regime and the violent-fluctuation regime, and the PPP regulation can reduce oil price volatility and can contribute to the reduction of macroeconomic volatility more effectively in the mild-fluctuation regime. The study concludes that the PPP regulation is effective in stabilizing the macroeconomy in China, but with different effects under different oil price regimes.

China has undertaken measures to regulate the prices of petroleum products to deal with world oil price shocks on its macro-economy. However, the effects of price regulation have not been studied, especially the effects of different world oil price fluctuation regimes. The paper analyzes the effect of China’s petroleum product price (PPP) regulation in reducing oil price volatility and macroeconomic volatility. Its contributions to the literature on the literature on the economic impacts of world crude oil price (WCOP) are: 1) it analyzes the WCOP-PPP transmission mechanisms and the effects of PPP regulations in reducing oil price volatility are mathematically quantified; 2) it proposes a new method to quantify the effect of PPP regulation in reducing oil price volatility, and 3) it contributes to the literature on the effect of oil price regulation on the macroeconomic stability of China.

Link to the article: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0301421519303246?via%3Dihub
Impact factor: (2018/2019) 4.880

Florence L. Zapico1 , Jose E. Hernandez1, Teresita H. Borromeo1, Josefina T. Dizon2 and Edwino S. Fernando3
1Institute of Crop Science, College of Agriculture and Food Science (UP Los Baños)
2Institute for Governance and Rural Development, College of Public Affairs and Development (UP Los Baños)
3Department of Forest Biological Sciences, College of Forestry and Natural Resources (UP Los Baños)

Traditional Agro-ecosystems in Southern Philippines: Vulnerabilities, Threats and Interventions,  International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, 1(4): 289-300, 2019

Typical farmers’ houses in the Sarangani uplands found beside rice/corn farms and with denuded mountains as backdrop

The research team trekking through mountainous terrain on their way to the next farming village

Sarangani, a province in Southern Philippines, is inhabited predominantly by tribal groups who engage in rainfed rice farming along steep hillsides for subsistence and livelihood. In these areas, the planting cycle commences with the clearing of farmland by setting fire to forest trees and understory vegetation. Known as kaingin, this traditional practice was sustainable during the province’s early years because it allowed for regrowth of aging forests. During the past decades, however, encroachment of lowland migrants along with changes which they brought with them, resulted in major upheavals in Sarangani tribal community life, local agro-biodiversity and the upland environment. This study was thus undertaken to identify major pressures to Sarangani upland communities and the interventions instituted by local government units, the national government and NGOs to address them or mitigate their effects. Results revealed that current agroecosystem pressures (i.e. modern agriculture, environmental degradation and changes in the socio-political and economic spheres) caused food insecurity and extensive biocultural losses. After being driven from their homesteads and being ill-equipped to handle these changes, tribal families now inhabit disaster-prone areas under conditions of danger, hardship, and abject poverty. While significant numbers of policies and programs had been instituted to address these problems, positive results still remain to be realized. It is warranted therefore that suitable interventions are instituted so that the plight of Sarangani upland farmers will be improved.

This scientific work was carried out to detect vulnerabilities of Sarangani traditional agro-ecosystem and to identify pressures which threaten it and the people depending on it for food, shelter and other livelihood needs. Using a wide array of methodologies, this study was able to unveil the current state of the Sarangani traditional agro-ecosystem as well as identify its innate vulnerabilities. Also revealed by the study were major forces that had inflicted considerable damage to this fragile ecosystem. Furthermore, the study also documented Instituted policies and programs as well as their effectiveness in terms of addressing local problems based on farmers’ perceptions and knowledge.

This study, therefore, provides baseline data about pressing problems in the Sarangani uplands where no such information is available. Information in Sarangani local government offices, if present at all, is scanty, fragmented and is focused on more accessible communities. Moreover, study results can be used to educate upland peoples about tribal practices (i.e. kaingin, hillside farming with no soil conservation measures) which had worked before but which now pose an imminent threat to the Sarangani upland ecosystem and consequently to the communities inhabiting the area. Finally, through the results of this study, evidence-based inputs can be provided to policymakers for the crafting of timely, appropriate and farmer-friendly programs/policies which will address intractable problems in the Sarangani uplands.

Link to the article: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/IJDRBE-06-2019-0036/full/html
Impact factor: Not applicable

Florence L. Zapico1 , Jose E. Hernandez1, Teresita H. Borromeo1, Josefina T. Dizon2 and Edwino S. Fernando3
1Institute of Crop Science, College of Agriculture and Food Science (UP Los Baños)
2Institute for Governance and Rural Development, College of Public Affairs and Development (UP Los Baños)
3Department of Forest Biological Sciences, College of Forestry and Natural Resources (UP Los Baños)

Genetic Erosion in Traditional Rice Agro-ecosystems in Southern Philippines: Drivers and Consequences,  Plant Genetic Resources: Characterization and Utilization, 18(1): 1-10, 2020

Meeting with the farmers and their families during field visit to Maitum

Harvested rice landraces suspended from ceiling beams in farmers’ houses in order to dry

Sarangani Province in Southern Philippines has been reported as being an area with highest varietal diversity for rice landraces. Closely interlinked with the rice crop is a rich tapestry of indigenous farming traditions that still persist in the most distant farming villages of the province. This study was therefore done to assess the current diversity of rice landraces in the Sarangani uplands in the face of current socio-economic, ecological and political scenarios unfolding in the area. Results of this study revealed dwindling numbers of local rice varieties owing to farmers’ changing priorities, pest infestation, weakening seed supply systems, shift to cash crops, natural calamities, environmental degradation, government programs and peace and order problems. Known as genetic erosion, these concomitant varietal losses will ultimately result in the extinction of Sarangani traditional rice as well as the culture that nurtures it. Consequently, identified pressures undermined traditional agricultural systems in Sarangani upland communities causing food and water scarcity, hunger and suffering on a catastrophic scale. Interdisciplinary strategies aimed at simultaneously averting further varietal losses and environmental degradation while improving human well-being are therefore warranted. Furthermore, making traditional rice farming a lucrative endeavor will induce the younger generation to remain in the uplands and choose farming as a profession. This way, biocultural restoration of agriculture will be attained and the continued presence of the tribal groups in the Sarangani uplands will be ensured for a very long time.

This present research, which follows on the heels of a previous study undertaken from 2014 to 2016, reports about the current state of rice genetic diversity in the Sarangani uplands in the face of emerging realities in these areas. Unfortunately, results revealed that genetic erosion is continually occurring in farmers’ fields and that a considerable number of local rice landraces had been lost due to stochastic events and anthropogenic-related factors.

This study is particularly important since it presents a potentially quantifiable measure of genetic erosion of Sarangani upland rice as well as the major forces which had adversely impacted this very important crop resource base. Furthermore, since Sarangani upland farmers are primarily rice eaters, rice varietal losses will have significant implications on food sufficiency and malnutrition in these marginal areas. Interventions are thus warranted to address concomitant losses of rice varieties and the indigenous knowledge systems associated with it. Aside from the actual losses of the variety themselves, valuable genes and gene complexes which can be used for crop improvement programs and to enhance agro-ecosystem resilience in the Sarangani uplands will be lost as well.

Link to the article: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/plant-genetic-resources/article/genetic-erosion-in-traditional-rice-agroecosystems-in-southern-philippines-drivers-and-consequences/400E277320709615AAE9354F8894CE93
Impact factor: (2018/2019) 0.717

Paul Joseph B. Ramirez
Department of Economics
College of Economics and Management
UP Los Baños

Gender-inclusive Value Chains: The Case of Seaweed Farming in Zamboanga Peninsula, Philippines, Gender, Technology and Development, https://doi.org/10.1080/09718524.2020.1728810, 2020

Studies on seaweed productivity enhancement have capitalized on value chain analysis to identify upgrading solutions that would advance the industry. The study transcends the conventional description of roles of key players in the value chain of seaweed in Zamboanga Peninsula in the Philippines with a focus on gender. Using rapid appraisal and value chain approaches, results of the study reveal that though men are very visible in the different nodes of the chain, women have significant involvement in production, post-harvest, and marketing segments. Although women are not directly paid for their efforts considering that seaweed farming is generally a family venture, they contribute a considerable share to the family income. Among value chain players, the gains of the poor men and women farmers were found to be minimal compared to the profits of other players. Results also showed that technical assistance to the farmers was a potential strategy to enhance the participation and gains of the husband-farmers, together with the wives/ women involved in seaweed production. Having these gender specific results highlights the importance of integrating gender in value chain research and initiatives.

While many studies have discussed the economics of seaweed farming in the Philippines and shown its profitability, few studies have empirically examined the extent to which adoption of seaweed farming/production has transformed the socioeconomic status of the women and men involved in seaweed farming/production. The paper employed inclusive value chain approaches to specifically explore the areas within the production stage, and to some extent other areas along the value chain, wherein men and women have distinct roles at present and where they could be involved in the future, in order to assess the breadth of socio-economic development among women and men.

Link to the article: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09718524.2020.1728810
Impact factor: Not applicable

Primitivo Jose A. Santos1 , Edwin E. de Rosario1, Bong M. Salazar2, Angelica Joy M. Lagrimas2 and Danilyn M. Gunda2
1Institute of Plant Breeding, College of Agriculture and Food Science (UP Los Baños)
2Institute of Crop Science, College of Agriculture and Food Science (UP Los Baños)

Profiling and Analysis of Reproductive Phenology of Four Coffee (Coffea spp.) Species in the Philippines using the BBCH Scale,  Philippine Journal of Crop Science, 44(3): 10-19, 2019

Morpho-developmental changes in Robusta coffee during inflorescence emergence (BBCH 51-59), flowering (BBCH 60-69), berry development (BBCH 70-79) and berry ripening (BBCH 80-89).

Heat unit accumulation in four coffee species, relative to BBCH stage, from floral bud emergence to berry ripening

The study is focused on coffee where there are limited resources on its characterization of growth and development under the Philippine setting. These problems in coffee farming can be attributed to erratic weather patterns and the absence of effective water management which is presumed to influence flowering. This can be solved by understanding the coffee physiological behavior to become the basis of the possible smarter coffee farming technology.

This research aimed to provide a thorough characterization of the phenological development of coffee and cacao from inflorescence emergence to fruit maturity using the BBCH scale. Another is to relate variation in flower and fruit development of four coffee species to some agro-climatic parameters. These objectives were met when the results showed comparable developmental patterns across the species. All species exhibited two sigmoid curves. It was also found out that bud break is the rate-limiting process in floral development and rainfall plays a significant role in floral bud development. It was also observed that large-fruited species, require more time to mature compared to the species with smaller berries. Liberica and Excelsa had comparable timing of maturation at 448 to 455 days from floral bud initiation, followed by Robusta at 416 days, and Arabica at 364 days. Accumulated heat units per phenophase also characterized the flower and fruit development of coffee. There were peaks of accumulation at the bud break stage, fruit setting and early berry development stage, and seed development.

This information can be the basis of a decision-support system that can advise on management interventions like irrigation, fertilization, and pest control in terms of schedule, volume, and intensity. It can also be used in developing growth and yield models by predicting the onset and completion of phenophases and quantitative determination of the coffee maturation period based on localized conditions. These will provide farmers with science-based and location-specific advisories that can help minimize losses from environmental damages and mismanagement, thus, stable high production.

Link to the article: https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/20203113779
Impact factor: (2018/2019) 0.135

Emilia S. Visco1 and Dhino B. Geges1
1Department of Social Development Services, College of Human Ecology (UP Los Baños)

Emergence of Social Enterprises as Partners for Social Development in the Philippines,  Pertanika Journals-Social Sciences & Humanities, 27 (T): 141-164, 2019

The various initiatives toward responding to the social needs of the people became popular during the 1990s. In pursuing development in rural areas of the country, the perspective of prioritizing human welfare was attempted to mainstream. Unfortunately, not all development programs went well. The issue of sustainability in solving various social issues and concerns was highlighted. This is where people’s participation through community initiated projects was further enhanced. One of the community driven mechanisms that were explored in the development field was through social entrepreneurship– the idea of bringing into collective social change in responding to different community problems like poverty and unemployment. This is the relevance of this study which is to discuss the value of social enterprises as partners for social development. The selected enterprises were characterized based on their profile. Their historical growth was revisited including their influences to various beneficiaries and partners. Based on the findings, SEs were mostly established during the 2000s. Majority of them have adopted social and economic objectives. Their journey also varied depending on the community’s needs and interests. Many have been in the areas of agriculture and livelihood activities. Skills improvement and job generation were recognized as the change experienced by partner groups. Given these initial outcomes, we can say that social enterprises can be a driver in delivering social development agenda.

Social enterprise is relatively new in the Philippines. It was only in 1999 when a group on non-government organizations established the Philippines Social Enterprise Network (PhilSEN). It was an avenue for social entrepreneurs to share and replicate SE experiences. Since then, many more NGOs were engaged in SE. But how far SE has gone to accomplish the goals of dealing with societal problems in the country or in particular, contributing to social development in the country? How challenging the practice of SE? These were some of the questions the study sought to answer. The result of the study envisioned helping social entrepreneurs, NGOs, policymakers, researchers and students of SE to understand the role of SE and the challenges faced in establishing SE in the country today. It also proved that SE are considered as partners for social development in the country.

Link to the article: http://www.pertanika.upm.edu.my/cspecial_issues.php?jtype=3&journal=JSSH-27-T1
Impact factor: Not applicable

Alipio T. Garcia1 and Ian Jasper A. Agulo1
1Department of Physical Sciences, College of Science (UP Baguio)

Investigation of Properties of Carbon Nanotubes Synthesized by Nebulized Spray Pyrolysis,  Emerging Materials Research, 9 (2): 1-6, 2020

Scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of the carbon nanotubes showing the individual tubular structures. (Inset) Image of concentric tubes of carbon taken with a transmission electron microscope (TEM).

Multiwalled carbon (C) nanotubes (CNTs) were synthesized by nebulized spray pyrolysis of xylene and ferrocene in a horizontal tube furnace at atmospheric pressure. The reaction temperature and the argon (Ar) gas flow rate were kept constant at 1200°C and 3·5 l/min, respectively, while the hydrogen (H2) gas flow rate was varied. The as-synthesized CNT films were then purified through peroxide and acid treatment. The samples were characterized with Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), thermogravimetry–differential thermal analysis (TG-DTA) and nitrogen (N2) Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) analysis. Raman measurements revealed a wide D-band and a comparatively narrow G-band, indicating relatively good graphitization of the CNTs, which is supported by TEM measurements and the I D/I G ratio of 0·072. TEM measurements exhibited multiple semicrystalline concentric CNTs with an outer diameter of around 33 nm. From radial breathing mode measurements, the diameter of the innermost tube was estimated to be 0·9 nm, consistent with TEM measurements. TG-DTA showed that 47% of the purified CNT sample was amorphous CNTs, 39% was composed of CNTs, 6% was the oxidized catalyst and the remaining 8% was amorphous carbon. Nitrogen BET analysis showed the surface area of the CNT to be 321·5 m2/g, corresponding to a high-porosity CNT sample consistent with SEM measurements.

In this work, we were able to synthesize multiwalled carbon nanotubes through the nebulization of xylene and ferrocene in a horizontal tube furnace at atmospheric pressure at 1200 °C. Raman spectroscopy verified the presence of carbon nanotubes. This is supplemented by scanning and transmission electron microscopy experiments, which revealed the concentric tubular structures with an outer diameter of 33 nanometer and an inner diameter of 0.9 nanometer. We have demonstrated that it is possible to synthesize high quality carbon nanotubes through a simple nebulization process of the precursors.

Link to the article: https://www.icevirtuallibrary.com/doi/abs/10.1680/jemmr.18.00020
Impact factor: (2018/2019) 0.330

Patricio Espinoza Dumlao III1 and Samuel Grozman1
1Department of Orthopedics, College of Medicine (UP Manila)

Neurological Recovery after Surgical Intervention of a Complete Spinal Cord injury Secondary to a Chronic Untreated Odontoid Neck Fracture: a Lesson in Patient Prognostication,  BMJ Case Reports 13 (1):e233077, DOI: 10.1136/bcr-2019-233077, 2020

Odontoid fractures are injuries of spinal column with that can be non-consequential or severely debilitating. There is no clear single treatment for patients who already present late and with paralysis from the neck to the feet. We present a patient with an odontoid fracture type that is known to not heal properly, with an associated incapacity to move the upper and lower limbs. The patient was not given any form of treatment for 3 months which resulted in a perceived persistent disability of the patient. He was subsequently managed by improving the stability of the head on the neck using implants to hold the bones in place. As well as the removal of the compressing bone on the spinal cord. The patient fully recovered and is able to do all activities of daily living without any help.

The report showcases a chronic odontoid fracture with complete loss of motor and sensory function. The threshold for operative versus nonoperative intervention in poorly prognosticated patients should be individualized, guidelines are there to suggest management, but including all stakeholders in the decision-making process is of equal value which is highlighted in this case. Though complete neurologic recovery from Grade A spinal cord injuries are rare, they should be included when discussing possible outcomes of management with the patient especially young individuals with marked capability for neuronal plasticity.

Link to the article: https://casereports.bmj.com/content/13/1/e233077
Impact factor: Not applicable

Noel Quiming1 and Marilou Nicolas1
1Department of Physical Sciences and Mathematics, College of Arts and Sciences (UP Manila)

Antibacterial Activity of Pseudoelephantopus spicatus (Juss) Rohr Extracts from the West Sub-catchment of Mt. Isarog Natural Park,  Oriental Journal of Chemistry, 35 (6): 1647-1654, 2019

This study explored the plant Pseudelephantopus spicatus (Juss) Rohr as potential source of compounds that can inhibit or kill bacteria. The results of this study showed that the alcoholic extracts of the plant samples were active against the bacterial strains used in the study. The alcoholic extracts of the plant samples were also subjected to purification processes. Two semi-purified fractions were found to inhibit the growth of the bacterial trains. These fractions were found to contain phytochemicals such as alkaloids, tannins, steroids, and essential oils.

The result of this research can be used as a reference to further study the plant sample for its bioactivity. The bioactive fractions obtained from the plants are potential sources of compounds that can be developed into anti-infective drugs.

Link to the article: http://www.orientjchem.org/vol35no6/antibacterial-activity-of-pseudoelephantopus-spicatus-juss-rohr-extracts-from-the-west-sub-catchment-of-mt-isarog-natural-park/
Impact factor: Not applicable

Mary Donabelle L. Balela
Department of Mining, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
College of Engineering
UP Diliman

Effect of PVP on the Morphology and Growth of Cu Hierarchical Nanostructures Prepared by Electroless Deposition, Key Engineering Materials, 821: 183-188, 2019

Octahedral Cu hierarchical nanostructures were prepared by electroless deposition in aqueous solution at 80 C. Polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) was employed as the protective and structure directing agent to prevent oxidation and agglomeration of the Cu products. Addition of higher amounts of PVP (about 1.275 g) resulted in smaller but irregularly-shaped Cu nanoparticles. The Cu nanoparticles have a mean particle diameter of about 200 nm with excellent size distribution. On the other hand, Cu octahedrals were produced when 0.425 to 0.850 g PVP was used. In situ mixed potential monitoring of the solution during electroless deposition revealed that the mixed potential was more positive at larger amounts of PVP. This can be attributed to slower reduction rate due to the decrease in the activity of Cu(II) ions. Consequently, smaller Cu nanoparticles were produced.

We have tested the evolution of Cu nanostructures with increasing amount of surfactant PVP. It was found that the concentration of PVP has a significant effect on the size, as well as shape of the Cu nanostructures. Octahedral Cu nanostructures were formed when the amount of PVP as limited to 0.425 to 0.850 g.

Link to the article: https://www.scientific.net/KEM.821.183
Impact factor: Not applicable

Paul Sammuel P. Ignacio
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
College of Science
UP Baguio

Classification of Single-lead Electrocardiograms: TDA Informed Machine Learning, 18th IEEE International Conference On Machine Learning And Applications (ICMLA), FL, USA: 1241-1246, 2019

The pipeline of our topology-based classification of ECG readings. We embed ECG readings into high-dimensional point-clouds, extract signatures of the resulting object, then use these to train a random forest classifier.

Important features of point clouds are detected by long bars in the barcodes. The Betti numbers reflect the number of features at different times: β0 counts connected components, while β1 counts holes bounded by loops.

Cardiac arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm, is the most prevalent heart disorder that encompasses a wide array of conditions characterized by erratic heart rhythms caused by chaotic propagation of electrical impulses in the atria. This triggers atrial spasms and irregular opening and premature closing of the main valves between the chambers of the heart, resulting in an increased risk of clot formation, and in the extreme case, stroke. An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) is the main tool that medical professionals use to diagnose AFib, measuring electric activity in the heart at different stages of the cardiac cycle. We show that the local and global shape of ECG readings, paired with minimal medical knowledge, could be utilized to aid in the diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation. We convert ECG readings into mathematical objects, extract their characteristics, and use these to train a machine learning algorithm to automate the classification.

Atrial Fibrillation is a heart condition characterized by erratic heart rhythms caused by chaotic propagation of electrical impulses in the atria, leading to numerous health complications. State-of-the-art models employ complex algorithms that extract expert-informed features to improve diagnosis. We demonstrate how topological features can be used to help accurately classify single lead electrocardiograms. We show that the local and global topology of ECG readings, paired with minimal medical knowledge, could be utilized to aid in the diagnosis of Atrial Fibrillation. We provide experimental evidence that there signal in the topological features of ECG readings in diagnosing Atrial Fibrillation. This prompts the call for increased collaboration between theoretical focus and advances of topologists and the medical researchers.

Link to the article: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8999081?fbclid=IwAR0P36hnGKEdcf2ObZ4k_kfvobQ4gZ_v8ta-Bl6vn8pFEE9PmVB42j1ZjNQ
Impact factor: Not applicable

Rogel Victor D. Mendoza1 and Ian Kendrich C. Fontanilla1
1Institute of Biology, College of Science (UP Diliman)

Whole Mitochondrial Genome of a Geoffroy’s Rousette, Rousettus amplexicaudatus (Pteropodidae),  Mitochondrial DNA Part B-Resources, 4 (2):3546-3548, 2019

The first complete sequence of the mitochondrial DNA of the fruit bat species Rousettus amplexicaudatus was sequenced using next generation sequencing. This is the first documented sequence of the fruit bat species which is known to be distributed across the Southeast Asian region and is native to the Philippines. The obtained whole mitochondrial DNA showed support in the modern classification of bats into Yinpterochiroptera and Yangochiroptera clades.

The article discusses the first whole mitochondrial genome of a Philippine fruit bat species which was sequenced using next generation sequencing method. This contributes to the lack of representation of Philippine fruit bat species in the mitogenome database. Furthermore, parts of the whole mitogenome could be used to assess the current taxonomic classification of the species.

Link to the article: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/23802359.2019.1676671
Impact factor: (2018/2019) 0.561

Arnel A. Salvador1, Vernalyn C. Copa1, Lorenzo P. Lopez Jr.1, Regine A. Lobertenos1 and Laureen Ida M. Ballesteros1
1National Institute of Physics, College of Science (UP Diliman)

ALD-RuO2 Functionalized Graphene FET with Distinctive Gas Sensing Patterns,  IEEE 32nd International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS), 149-152, 2019

Schematic of the structural models and the energy band diagrams of the ALD-RuO2 functionalized graphene FET gas sensor.

Schematic of the fabrication process, the top and cross-sectional views for each step.

Gas sensor based on graphene attracts researchers due to the superior gas sensing capability at room temperature for different gas species. However, pristine graphene shows low sensitivity and selectivity as compared to that of conventional gas sensors. In our work, we use a hybrid structure of graphene and ruthenium oxide to achieve high sensitivity. To circumvent the problem with selectivity, we propose a new gas sensing scheme based on the 4-dimensional (4D) physical properties of graphene. Our results show that the hybrid structure is 4 times more sensitive compared to that of a pristine graphene. The 4D physical properties vectors are unique for different gases. Thus, the device structure and the multi-dimensional physical properties vectors could be used for robust gas classification scheme.

This work demonstrates the first gas sensing using a 4-D physical properties vectors of graphene field effect transistor (FET). We also show the 16-D characteristic gas sensing pattern for selective of the chemical vapor such as water and methanol. From our results, we realized that ALD-RuO2 functional graphene FET could offer robust gas classification scheme for gas sensing application.

Link to the article: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8870665
Impact factor: Not applicable

Gilbert R. Peralta
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
College of Science
UP Baguio

Analysis and Finite Element Discretization for Optimal Control of a Linear Fluid-Structure Interaction Problem with Delay, IMA Journal of Numerical Analysis, 40: 140-206, 2020

Time evolution for the norms of the residuals between the states and target states with the optimal control neglecting delay (solid curve) and applying this control to the delayed dynamics (dashed curve).

An optimal control problem for a linearized fluid–structure interaction model with a delay term in the structural damping is analyzed. A distributed control acting on the fluid domain, structure domain or both are considered. The necessary optimality conditions are derived both for rough and smooth initial data. A parabolic regularization of the problem and its convergence is investigated. Finite element discretization for the regularized problem and error estimates are provided. Piecewise linear elements with bubble functions for the fluid and a discontinuous Galerkin scheme for the spatial and temporal discretizations are utilized respectively. Numerical experiments illustrating the theoretical results are given.

This paper is dedicated to the analysis and numerical approximation of optimal control problems for linearized models describing the interaction of an incompressible fluid and a structure. For the physical configuration, we consider the setting where the structure is completely submerged in the fluid domain. An example of this situation is microbubble suspension in a fluid in ultrasound imaging. In this study, we assume that the interface between the fluid and the solid is static, a reasonable assumption in the case of small yet rapid oscillations for the structure. It is the first step towards partitioned schemes for nonlinear two-dimensional and three-dimensional problems with either a static or a dynamic interface. Numerical simulations suggest that if there is a priori knowledge that time delay is present in the state equation then one should utilize this information to improve the results of the optimal control formulation.

Link to the article: https://academic.oup.com/imajna/article-abstract/40/1/140/5177807?redirectedFrom=fulltext
Impact factor:(2018/2019) 2.397

Ma. Regina G. Punzalan1 ,Ma. Anita M. Bautista1 and Cynthia P. Saloma1
1Philippine Genome Center (UP System)

Differential Expression Analysis in High-yielding and Low-yielding Philippine Coconut Through Transcriptome Sequencing,  Philippine Journal of Science, 148: 83-95, 2019

Naturally, a farmer would like to propagate a highly productive palm over another which does not bear much fruits. So, the goal of this study is to identify the differences between a high-yielding coconut and a low-yielding coconut at the molecular level so that farmers or coconut breeders can easily identify if a seedling will be fruitful in the long run. This was done by analyzing all the genes expressed in both high-yielding and low-yielding palms and identifying which of these genes are highly or poorly expressed between the two samples. From this selection of genes, potential molecular markers that can be used like sequence tags were developed. Once validated, breeders can look for these “tags” in seedlings so that they have an idea whether the seedling will grow into a fruitful or non-fruitful crop.

The paper shows the potential of next generation sequencing in developing molecular breeding strategies that will allow selection and propagation of high-yielding crops. Since coconut takes at least a decade to grow, it is imperative that new breeding strategies be developed so that farmers would not need to wait for decades only to find out that they planted a low-yielding palm. This study provides a list of molecular markers which, once validated, can assist our local farmers in boosting coconut production in the country. This paper demonstrates how science can be used in developing tools that would improve the lives of the country’s poorest farmers.

Link to the article: http://philjournalsci.dost.gov.ph/90-148-special-issue/1082-differential-expression-analysis-in-high-yielding-and-low-yielding-philippine-coconut-through-transcriptome-sequencing
Impact factor: Not applicable

Maria Lourdes A. Torres-Garcia1 , Lotus D. Llavore1, Alice Alma C. Bungay2, Jesus N. Sarol Jr.3, Riza Rae A. Pineda4 and Kristofer E. delas Peñas4
1Graduate Program in Orthdontics, College of Dentistry (UP Manila)
2Department of Medical Microbiology, College of Public Health (UP Manila)
3National Teacher Training Center for the Health Professions (UP Manila)
4Department of Computer Science, College of Engineering (UP Diliman)

Benzalkonium Chloride in an Orthodontic Adhesive: Its Effect on Rat Enamel Demineralization Using Color-based Image Analysis,  American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, 155(1): 88-97, 2019

Enamel demineralization, which can become dental caries, occurs more often among orthodontically treated patients than in those who never had braces. Oral hygiene maintenance, such as toothbrushing, for patients with braces has been found to be ineffective in preventing enamel demineralization, and there is a need to discover and investigate other methods to reduce this common problem.. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of an orthodontic bracket adhesive containing an antibacterial agent, benzalkonium chloride (BAC), on enamel demineralization. Eighteen female rats were infected with Streptococcus sobrinus, a bacteria known to cause cavities, and divided into the control, non-BAC, and BAC groups. Results showed that the demineralization in the group where BAC was incorporated was less compared with the non-BAC group. This study showed that the addition of benzalkonium chloride (BAC) to an orthodontic adhesive has the potential to reduce demineralization in rats. Aside from being an antibacterial agent, BAC may also prevent dental caries.

Oral hygiene maintenance for orthodontic patients has been found to be ineffective in preventing enamel demineralization, and there is a need to discover and investigate other intervention and preventive strategies to reduce this common problem in patients undergoing orthodontic treatment. This study substantiates that the addition of benzalkonium chloride (BAC) to an orthodontic adhesive has the potential to reduce the amount and percentage of enamel demineralization in rats. Aside from being an antibacterial agent, BAC may also have anti-cariogenic effects.

Link to the article: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajodo.2018.03.016
Impact factor: (2018/2019) 1.911

Ma. Roselette L. Alojado-Rubianes1, Ernesto J. del Rosario2
1National Institute of Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH) (UP Los Baños)
2Institute of Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences (UP Los Baños)

Digital Images Photometry of Xylose in Liquid Medium,
Philippine Journal of Science, 148 (2): 217-224, 2019

The present study describes the development of a rapid method for the determination of xylose (a five-carbon sugar) in liquid medium using Digital Image Photometry (DIP). Xylose was quantified by its reaction with the reagent phloroglucinol, thereby forming a colored solution whose color intensity is proportional to the xylose concentration. A microplate sample holder is used which allows up to 96 sample solutions (small volumes in microwells) to be analyzed simultaneously. Color images of the solutions are taken using a commercial flat-bed scanner followed by image analysis with free-access software (ImageJ). This method uses a relatively cheap scanner and small volumes of samples and reagents; it is practical for laboratories with limited budget.

The DIP method was found to be accurate based on experimental (versus theoretical) xylose concentration values and gave results that are comparable to other technical protocols requiring expensive equipment such as high-performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC) or visible spectrophotometer. The DIP method was used to evaluate the extent of xylose assimilation in liquid fermentation medium by four yeast strains. The results of the present study show that DIP using a scanner is a promising alternative for xylose determination, in terms of method validation criteria, compared to the more established protocols using HPLC or spectrophotometer.

The aim of this study is to develop a rapid analytical method using common equipment (such as scanners, digital cameras, etc.) without sacrificing accuracy. When looking for microorganisms with beneficial characteristics, the screening process is usually the tedious step because it will require large numbers of analyses. Not only is this time-consuming, but it is also expensive. With this developed method, the costly spectrophotometer can be replaced by a digital scanner, and instead of cuvettes, we use a 96-well plate. In short, instead of analyzing samples one by one, we can simultaneously read 96 samples in one scanning. The method was validated against the established spectrophotometer and HPLC methods for the analysis of xylose, and it proved that this method can be a cheaper and faster alternative.

Link to the article: http://philjournalsci.dost.gov.ph/publication/regular-issues/past-issues/87-current-issue/vol-148-no-2-june-2019/964-digital-image-photometry-of-xylose-in-liquid-medium
Impact factor: Not yet available

Ma. Charisma T. Malenab1, Emilia S. Visco1
1Department of Social Development Service, College of Human Ecology (UP Los Baños)

Bridging the Gap Between Gender and Marine Conservation: The Case of Calatagan Mangrove Forest Conservation Park in Batangas, Philippines,
Pertanika Journal of Social Science and Humanities, 27 (S1):193-213, 2019

The Philippines sits on a global hotspot where the epicenter of marine biodiversity is found. To maintain the ecological integrity of this seascape, community-based marine conservation projects like the Calatagan Mangrove Forest Conservation Park (CMFCP) has been introduced. However, studies to determine the importance of gender roles in conservation and protection of these resources were very few. This study was conducted to analyze the gender role participation of the people who work in the conservation site. It adapted the analytical gender and environment framework by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. In managing CMFCP, gender complementation was observed where tasks perceived as heavy were dominated by men and the management of resources was done by women. In addition, there has been an articulated and observed increase in the level of women’s participation in marine conservation in parallel to a high number of women holding executive roles. Of the 19 tasks identified, eight were found to be participated by women. Productive work of women concentrated on wet season whereas their domestic roles were observed for both wet and dry seasons. On the other hand, men’s productive role was observed for both seasons where their domestic roles were seen only during dry season. Both genders were knowledgeable on the different marine resources present in the area. Women were able to identify more resources than men in terms of marine resources class. This may be linked to women’s role as tour guides. In this program, the rise of women working in marine conservation was observed.

Most drivers of change for a successful conservation belong to the realm of social science where people are involved (Leslie, 2005). But while there have been studies involving the role of people in natural resources conservation efforts, there were limited studies focusing on gender and marine conservation. Thus, a study analyzing the gender role participation in conservation of a community-based program, the Calatagan Mangrove Forest Conservation Park (CMFCP) is very important. A gendered approach can also induce more participation on both genders. This also highlights the importance of involving the community as managers of marine protected areas to ensure the sustainability of the program. Hence, promoting community-based resource management for sustainable utilization of natural resources. Furthermore, the result of the study can also be utilized as the basis for crafting policies that will promote environmental integrity, empowerment of local organization and contribute to human-ecological security.

Link to the article: http://www.pertanika.upm.edu.my/Pertanika%20PAPERS/JSSH%20Vol.%2027%20(S1).%202019/13%20JSSH(S)-0972-2018.pdf
Impact factor: Not yet available

Camille Rose T. Mueda1, Sharon N. Nuñal1, Rose T. Mueda1
1Institute of Fish Processing Technology, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (UP Visayas)

Effect of Storage Temperature on the Physicochemical and Sensory Properties of Green Mussel, Perna viridis (Linnaeus, 1758),
Asian Fisheries Science, 32: 172-181, 2019

Green mussel or tahong is a popular seafood commodity in the Philippines owing to its abundance and the nutritional benefits that it confers to the consumers. Tahong is also foreseen to have export potential however, there is a perceived lack of appropriate postharvest technologies to preserve its freshness and maintain its good eating quality. Upon harvest, the shells are usually packed in sacks without ice during transport to its intended market which often leads to deteriorating texture wherein the meat becomes tough and dry when cooked. In this study, we looked at the effect of adding ice at different ratios to the mussel. We also examined the enzyme activity which causes the degradation of the mussel meat. The study found that the addition of lesser ice at 1:5 ratio increases enzyme activities leading to faster degradation of mussel meat. To determine the changes in the flavor, texture and the general acceptability of the ice-stored mussel over three days, ten people were selected as panelists. The results of the sensory evaluation were then supported by a texture profile analysis which is an automated way of testing these characteristics. The results of both tests showed that flavor and texture were preserved better when more ice was added at 1:3 and 1:4 ratios. Interestingly it was revealed that the more degraded texture of mussel stored at 1:5 ratio was preferred by the panelists as the flesh is softer and the flavor is more acceptable.

In the Philippines, the green mussel Perna viridis (Linnaeus 1758), commonly known as tahong, is one of the economically important shellfish species in the country. It exhibits a fast growth rate, making it a viable aquaculture organism. The green mussel is known for its proteinaceous meat and is an excellent source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It is an affordable commodity and is locally abundant especially in coastal communities. However, it is also highly perishable and its quality heavily depends on storage or transport temperature. To obtain good quality prior to consumption, mussels are usually transported live or in chilled form. Chilling, however, does not guarantee long-term preservation of mussel as degradation can still occur which is primarily attributed to the hydrolytic reactions catalyzed by endogenous enzymes. This study investigated the optimum ice: mussel ratio that would result in better preservation in terms of the physico-chemical and sensory attributes of the mussel. Enzymatic activities and soluble protein content of mussel stored in the different ice ratio were also determined. Findings of this study provides information on the proper chilling of mussel to keep it in good quality for a longer period of time.

Link to the article: https://www.asianfisheriessociety.org/publication/abstract.php?id=1279
Impact factor: Not yet available

Sharon N. Nuñal1, Mae Grace G, Nillos2, Jose P. Peralta1
1Institute of Fish Processing Technology, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (UP Visayas)
2Institute of Aquaculture, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (UP Visayas)

Bioactivity and Functionality of Gelatin Hydrolysates from the Skin of Oneknife Unicornfish (Naso thynnoides),
Journal of Aquatic Food Product Technology: 28 (10): 1013-1026, 2019

In this study, the skin of unicornfish that are usually thrown away after obtaining the fillet was used as a source of a potential food ingredient with biological functions. Skin discards were collected from Culasi, Antique where unicornfish are abundant and are processed in bulk. The collected skin was added with enzymes to break down the protein into smaller components (peptides) which has known potential biological functions in the human body. The results showed that the obtained peptides are rich in amino acids that can exhibit antioxidant and antihypertensive properties. Also, the hydrolysates (peptides) showed excellent protein solubility, foaming and emulsion capacities which makes it a good additive to a food system to improve its physical and sensorial characteristics. This study was able to show that the processing wastes products such as skin discards of the Oneknife Unicornfish can be utilized to produce gelatin hydrolysates which are biologically active thus can be used as functional food ingredient and as neutraceuticals to help address health issues like hypertension and cell oxidation.

Valorisation of fish processing wastes often ends with the production of fish meal and fish silage which have low economic value. The study aimed at utilizing and increasing the value of skin discards from the processing of oneknife unicornfish (Naso thynnoides) as a source of biologically active peptides. Production of hydrolysates (short peptides) from Unicornfish gelatin was proven in this study to have potent antioxidant and antihypertensive activities which can be a natural alternative to a synthetic drug to address cases of cell oxidation and hypertension. Also, with its exceptional protein solubility, emulsion capacity and foaming capacity properties, the hydrolysates can improve the physical and sensorial components of food if used as an additive. With these, the unicornfish skin gelatin hydrolysates can be a potential food ingredient for nutraceuticals and functional food production.

Link to the article: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10498850.2019.1682094
Impact factor: (2018/2019) 0.707

Josefina T. Dizon1, Maria Ana T. Quimbo1, Dinah Pura T. Depositario2
1Institute for Governance and Rural Development, College of Public Affairs & Development (UP Los Baños)
2Department of Agribusiness Management and Entrepreneurship, College of Economics and Management (UP Los Baños)

Social Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change Impacts of Women-headed Households in the Philippines: A Comparative Analysis,
Journal of Environmental Science and Management, 22 (2): 36-54, 2019

Interview with some of the women-headed households

Climate change is a reality. It affects people from all walks of life particularly the vulnerable ones. Among these, the women-headed households are one of the most vulnerable sectors because of poverty. Women-headed households are households where the lone mothers bear both the responsibilities of being a mother and a father in the household. In order to understand their plights, this study was conducted to analyze the social vulnerability and adaptive capacity to climate change impacts of 162 women-headed households in two remote coastal communities in Lagonoy, Camarines Sur. The study shows women-headed households in the two remote coastal communities have moderate to high vulnerability in terms of demographic, economic, and social factors. Households with more family members with disabilities and bigger household sizes have lower adaptive capacity towards addressing climate change. A very important factor that increases the households’ adaptive capacity is their affiliation with social groups because they have access to better information and assistance. The study recommends formulating effective climate change policies and responsive strategies that enhance the rights and welfare of these households for equal distribution and access to resources, especially in socio-political structures in the community.

This study is significant because it highlights the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of women-headed houses, the reasons why are they vulnerable to climate change and how their vulnerability can be addressed. The results of the study will help the government and other related institutions craft policies that will support the women-headed households to enhance their adaptive capacity and overcome their vulnerability.

Link to the article: https://ovcre.uplb.edu.ph/journals-uplb/index.php/JESAM/article/view/171
Impact factor: (2018/2019) 0.266

Ma. Kristina O. Paler1, Ma. Charisma T. Malenab2, Hildie Maria E. Nacorda1
1School of Environmental Science and Management (UP Visayas)
2Department of Social Development Service, College of Human Ecology (UP Visayas)

Plastic Waste Occurrence on a Beach off Southwestern Luzon, Philippines,
Marine Pollution Bulletin, 141: 416-419, 2019

Litter has become a global concern due to the socio-economic and ecological threats it has posed to marine ecosystems. Litter is primarily comprised of plastics (GESAMP, 2015; UNEP, 2016) and this increasing growth of plastic pollution in the ocean has reached a critical point, making the international community realize the gravity of the problem. The Philippines is one of the countries with the highest plastic waste inputs into the ocean yet there is a lack of information on the level of contamination by plastic wastes in local marine ecosystems. This study aims to provide a plastic litter profile on a local beach as an initial report on plastic waste contamination on a typical coast. Likewise, microplastic (MP) occurrence is measured to establish baseline data on the MP level. Results showed that, at sampling time, the beach had a high level of plastic contamination. The Clean-coast index was calculated at 13.14 (classified under ‘dirty’) and, indeed, plastics comprised 85% of the beach litter. The most abundant plastic litter was plastic wrapper as sachet, which is a common packaging type in the Philippines. Sachet is made of a small thin film of plastic and, at times, in composite with aluminum in a sealed sandwich laminate form with the product inside (Posadas, 2014). In the Philippines, twice more users preferred sachets over bottles of their products due to economic constraints (Ang and Sy-Changco, 2007). Furthermore, microplastic count sans fibers was at 0.26 items/g, which is comparable to regional data so far.

Litter has become a global concern due to the socio-economic and ecological threats it has posed to marine ecosystems. Litter is primarily comprised of plastics (GESAMP, 2015; UNEP, 2016) and this increasing growth of plastic pollution in the ocean has reached a critical point, making the international community realize the gravity of the problem. The Philippines is one of the countries with the highest plastic waste inputs into the ocean yet there is a lack of information on the level of contamination by plastic wastes in local marine ecosystems. This study aims to provide a plastic litter profile on a local beach as an initial report on plastic waste contamination on a typical coast. Likewise, microplastic (MP) occurrence is measured to establish baseline data on the MP level. The baseline findings of this study are relevant for resource management policies and will help in advancing further researches in this area, to help abate water pollution.

Link to the article: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2019.02.006
Impact factor: (2018/2019) 3.782