The speakers, organizers, and participants during the ENVIOTECH 2022.

Los Baños, Laguna – The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) conducted its annual Enviotech forum on November 23, 2022 at the Philippine Trade Training Center, Pasay City, Philippines in celebration of the 18th National Biotechnology Week (NBW).

In her opening remarks ERDB Director Ma. Lourdes G. Ferrer highlighted the importance of ecosystems and the role of everyone in taking care of the environment.

“To our students and the rest of the participants, may this event allow us to see biotechnology with a new perspective, especially on how we can ethically and efficiently use it in conserving, protecting, and managing our finite resources.

 May this also challenge us to be curious, to keep asking questions, and to continue exploring ways to take care of the world we live in through biotechnology”.

Allysa Marie C. Federio, Media Production Specialist II, gave an overview of Enviotech 2022.

She emphasized the “importance of joining the youth in the conversations concerning biotechnologies since they have the capacity to influence not just their own generation but also those older and younger than them.”

Federio also introduced the history and aims of Enviotech as a way for the Bureau to harness the potential of biotechnology for the protection and conservation of our natural resources.

Ms. Alexa Rae B. Advincula, Science Research Specialist II of the Laboratory and Experimental Services Division (LESD), discussed the basic concepts of biotechnology and its applications.

Advincula explained two examples of modern biotechnology: Recombinant DNA Technology and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Afterward, she enumerated its different applications in medicine, marine, industry, agriculture, and the environment.

She also emphasized in her presentation the importance of biotechnology and that it is the future of society, as it helps prepare and address pressing challenges in our community.

Dr. Dennis M. Gilbero, Supervising Science Research Specialist from the Forest and Wetlands Research and Development Center (FWRDEC), introduced the seed technology and the Mindanao Forest Tree Seed Center (MFTSC).

Dr. Gilbero showed different kinds of seeds such as the Mayapis, which can “fly” from 200 meters up to 500 meters when thrown, and the Lumbang, which is covered with a very hard seed coat and can remain dormant for 15 years.

He also emphasized that “forest tree seed technology can help create business opportunities when properly utilized and studied.”

The highlight of his discussion was the MFTSC where they conduct research, develop strategies, produce quality seeds, and preserve genetic materials.

The last speaker was Ms. Marleane Rovi R. Ferrer from the Toxic and Hazardous Waste Research and Development Center.

She presented the ERDB R&D on low-cost adsorbents from agri-wastes for the removal of hexavalent chromium.

The study site was in Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando River System (MMORS), which is heavily polluted due to the large-sized to small-scale tannery firms and untreated discharges in the area.

According to their water sampling, the river contains heavy metals such as Lead, Zinc, Copper, Nickel, Manganese, and Chromium.

Thus, THWRDEC studied the top four agri-wastes generated in the country to develop agri-adsorbents.

According to the results of their study, 98-99% of chromium VI was removed from tannery wastewater using the powder.

Ferrer highlighted the “promising opportunities for businesses as the material is low-cost and promotes the circular economy.”

Lastly, Ms. Ferrer also encourages the youth as active partners in the research and development efforts of the country.

She advised the students and other participants to disseminate their knowledge to communities and individuals as well as explore the potential of other wastewater treatment applications.

An open forum was then conducted after all the presentations.

The awarding of certificates subsequently followed the activity before ending with closing remarks from the ERDB Assistant Director For. Mayumi Quintos Natividad.

In her message, she encouraged the participants to use social media and their creativity to spread public knowledge and understanding of biotechnologies.

ENVIOTECH is DENR-ERDB’s answer to the call of the Presidential Proclamation No. 1414 signed by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, declaring the last week of November as the celebration of NBW. Allysa Marie C. Federio, TTD