Algae Master Plan for the Philippines
October 25, 2012
ork is underway to create a five-year plan to be used as a roadmap for developing commercial uses for Philippine strains of microalgae. Known as the Algae Research and Commercialization Master Plan, one of the plan’s primary pathways leads to development of microalgae as aquafeeds.
This year, the Philippine Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) released P10 million to start off the National Aquafeeds Research and Development Program. About 60 species of microalgae have already been screened for food and aquaculture In the Philippines.
The University of the Philippines (UP) Los Baños, and UP in the Visayas, are working with the Bohol Island State University to develop feed formulations using microalgae, seaweeds and seaweed by-products, and water hyacinth as possible protein sources. The feeds come in various forms: algal paste, nutrient concentrates, and as floating and sinking pellets. These will be field-tested on milkfish, shrimps, and tilapia.
Through the algae masterplan, the country is in a bid to develop at least five local strains of microalgae for the world market for algal products: Chlorella vulgaris, Isochrysis, Nannochloropsis spp., Tetraselmis spp., and Spirulina platensis.
Other than feed development, the algae masterplan will direct algal research towards germplasm collection, preservation and maintenance, processing, and value-adding for production of bioactive compounds, nutraceuticals and functional foods, nanomaterials, crop protectants and algal polysaccharides; and development of high-rate algal production systems including design and local fabrication of photobioreactors.
The Philippines Congressional Committee on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) has identified the masterplan as one of their six Science and Technology (S&T) Innovation Clusters. The S&T innovation cluster concept involves strategic alliances among academic institutions, research consortia, private and foreign companies, and government funding institutions to deliver technologies that would fuel fledging industries towards global competitiveness.