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Biotechnology for Natural Products Program (BNPP)
Biotechnology for Natural Products Program (BNPP)

The BNPP focuses on harnessing bio-active secondary metabolites (natural products) from indigenous plants and microorganism as effective reduced-risk crop protection technologies and therapeutic agents. The program primarily utilizes top-down approach which includes diverse sampling, culture condition screening and comparative metabolomic profiling. To further strengthen the capability of BNPP, modern bottom-up approach to natural products discovery is being developed such as the use of computational tools and molecular genetics-assisted native and heterologous host expression. The program utilizes enabling modern technologies such as chromatography, mass spectrometry, whole genome sequencing, molecular cloning, bioinformatics, heterologous expression and tissue culture for discovery and development of formulated natural products-based insecticides, fungicides and therapeutic agents from available bioresources.

LABORATORIES​

Antibiotics Laboratory

The Antibiotics Laboratory under the Biotechnology for Natural Products Program (BNPP) takes pride in doing research on Actinobacteria isolated from mangrove areas and other rare environments around the Philippines. The Laboratory then focuses on studying the antimicrobial properties of these Actinobacteria against medically important pathogens and biocontrol potentials against economically important plant pathogens. ACTICon™ which is a new biocontrol agent against the deadly Fusarium wilt of Cavendish banana was developed in this Laboratory.

Microbial Insecticides Laboratory

The Microbial Insecticides (MI) Laboratory’s vision is to transform itself to a modern facility that is capable of generating crop protection technologies that are reduced risk to non-targets but with wider spectral activity and more effective control potential to target insect pests. To realize its goals, the research focus of the MI Lab is to develop microencapsulated natural products-based insecticides from local microbial strains.

Tissue Culture Laboratory

Tissue Culture Laboratory focuses on the development of novel plant tissue culture technologies for the production of useful plant-based products and for rapid mass propagation.

For the production of useful plant-based products, our desired compounds are mostly secondary metabolites which are normally not required by plants for its growth and development but are of great utility to man. Examples are pharmaceuticals, flavors, fragrances, colors and agrichemicals. One of our products in the pipeline is WiltCure. WiltCure is a new biofungicide derived from the co-culture of a callus and a microbe and can be used for the control of Fusarium wilt in solanaceous crops particularly tomato and chili pepper. 

For the mass propagation of valuable plant species, our laboratory is doing tissue culture of economically-important plants like coconut, banana, ginger and orchids. The protocol for the rapid mass propagation of Moringa oleifera and Aloe barbadensis have been developed in our laboratory.

Bioinformatics Laboratory (Special Laboratories)

The Bioinformatics Laboratory (BIL) is one of the newest laboratories established under the Special Laboratory at the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH), which focuses on the application of computational methods on microbial genome data mining. The Laboratory’s function is to analyze the genome or genetic blueprint of bacteria to discover important genes and pathways for the synthesis of natural products, plant-microbe interactions, virulence effectors, plant growth promotion and determine phylogenetic relationships. The information derived from genome mining is a powerful tool in searching for novel genes that are involved in processes that are important in agriculture, health, food and industry. BIL hopes to introduce modern bioinformatics techniques to enhance BIOTECH’s strength in microbial biotechnology.

PROGRAM TEAM

Aileen B. Custodio, M.Sc.
Program Leader, University Researcher II
Alyssa M. De Castro
University Research Associate II
Atanacio C. Manzo
Laboratory Aide II
Bernadette T. Rapiz
University Research Associate I
Bernardo C. Mercado
Laboratory Technician
Edwin P. Alcantara, Ph.D.
Scientist I
Elena May N. Cabarrubias
Laboratory Technician
Eufrocinio C. Marfori, Ph.D.
Scientist I
Guian Paolo S. Crisostomo
Laboratory Technician II
Irene A. Papa, M.Sc.
University Researcher
John Edward Zapater
University Research Associate II
Sarah Jane S. Baterina
Laboratory Technician III