Print this newsprint this news, exclude masthead and left navigation
by Madel R. Sabater
13-June-2008 Manila Bulletin

The Department of Science and Technology (DoST) is funding a P6-million biotechnology project that would fast-track the propagation of native orchids that are already "at risk" of extinction due to massive exportation.

DoST’s Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD - DoST) is funding the project on the "Conservation, Regeneration and Re-introduction of Indigenous Orchids in Selected Natural Habitats," in collaboration with the University of the PhilippinesLos Baños Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB-UPLB). Project leader Nestor Altoveros, who is also a professor at the IPB, said the project, worth P6 million, is now on its second year.

It is expected to be finished by next year.

Under the project, embryo in-vitro culture will be used to reproduce thousands of orchid plantlets in three to five months’ time after planting. Altoveros said that in nature, orchids need mycorrhiza to germinate. Mycorrhiza is associated to a particular type of fungus.

However, plant survival is low.

Thus, orchid in-vitro culture will be used.

This involves culturing orchid seeds in the laboratory, sterilizing them and letting them grow in small bottles for sometime before transferring them in pots.

The objective of the project is the produce 26,000 orchid plantlets from 52 native orchid species.

Currently, about 30 species have already been collected. Altoveros said that since the project began, about 2,000 native orchid plantlets have already been distributed in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Palawan and the Makiling Botanic Garden in Los Baños, Laguna. Over 1,000 orchid plantlets have also been potted out.

Among the native species distributed, potted out and being propagated are Aerides, Phalaenopsis, Dendrobium, Vanda, Renanthera and Grammatophyllum. All of which are well-known in the international orchid trade and cost US$ 10 to $ 75 per plant. Altoveros disclosed that re-introduction sites are in the Makiling Botanic Garden; in Daet, Camarines Norte; in Palawan’s El Nido, Puerto Princesa City, Aborlan and Narra towns; and in ARMM, particularly in North Cotabato and in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.

Commercialization is expected by 2010. Altoveros said the need to conserve, regenerate and re-introduce native orchid species came about as native orchids are already "at risk" in their natural habitat. Altoveros however assured that no orchid species has already become extinct.

Print this newsprint this news, exclude masthead and left navigation

SEAMEO SEARCA Biotechnology Information Center
Other News
  RP, US sign $216-M food accord
  Yap welcomes FAO support for RP biofuel proposal
  $10-M grant to be provided for rice, wheat research
  DA commits P1.16B for agri research
  Biotechnology tapped to develop alternative fuels
  Monsanto leads $47-M corn research
  DOST to save native orchids from extinction
  Experts cite need for more investments in S&T, Agriculture
  Government grants for R&D activities continue to rise
  RP seeks more research funding for agriculture
  Biotechnology pushed to ease food shortage
  The Filipino champion: top-notch scientists, proud to be pinoy
  CBCP open to a dialogue on biotech use
  All set for the 8th ASEAN Science and Technology Week in Manila in July 02
  Researchers developing disease-resistant abaca
  More news...