Seaweed production technology to address declining productivity

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By Milthon Lujan

The Philippines.- The country’s seaweed industry faces certain challenges. These include the decrease in biomass of harvested crops from farms mainly due to poor seedstocks quality and outbreaks of diseases.

Researchers explain that the increase in seaweed production can no longer be achieved through improved cultivation techniques alone. There is a need to develop a technology for genetic improvement of commonly cultured species.

Addressing this need, a group of researchers from the University of Eastern Philippines (UEP) and the University of the Philippines Diliman-Marine Science Institute (UPD-MSI) have developed a technique for production of improved strains of seaweeds to address declining productivity and carrageenan quality in seaweed farms.

Titled “Non-enzymatic isolation of somatic cells from Kappaphycus spp. and Eucheuma denticulatum (Solieriaceae, Rhodophyta),” the study was published in the European Journal of Phycology in 2014.

The published work reports a technique developed for isolation of somatic cells from Kappaphycus and Eucheuma – two of the most cultured seaweeds in tropical waters.

The technique will be useful in mass production of single cells of carrageenophytes for biotechnological purposes such as micropropagation and protoplast production.

To benefit from the technology are seaweed farmers, seaweed industry (processors and exporters), marine biotechnology industries, as well as the food and medical industries. The government will also benefit from the trade because Kappaphycus and Eucheuma are considered as top export products of the country.

Dr. Ronelie C. Chato-Salvador, project leader, garnered the Outstanding Published Paper in the Aquatic Sciences category of the Dr. Elvira O. Tan Award.
The Dr. Elvira O. Tan Award honors Filipino scientists and researchers for their exceptional publication of research and development (R&D) results, which support the advancement of the country’s national economic and food security. It was established in 1987 as a tribute to Dr. Elvira O. Tan, an outstanding researcher, and prolific writer, and former Deputy Executive Director of the then PCARRD.

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Though the awards were originally conceptualized to recognize scientists and researchers in fisheries research and development in the country, it was expanded to cover aquatic sciences, agriculture, and natural resources and environment in consonance with the National Symposium on Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (NSAARRD).

A DOST-PCAARRD R&D initiative, NSAARRD showcases the most outstanding contributions of individuals and institutions in the improvement of the agriculture, aquatic, and natural resources sectors through research and development (R&D) awards.

NSAARRD is one of the highlights of the DOST-PCAARRD’s 6th anniversary celebration, which will be held at the Council’s complex on June 27-30, 2017.

Source: DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Service

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