Biotechnology for Natural Products Program (BNPP)

The BNPP focuses on harnessing bio-active secondary metabolites (natural products) from microorganisms and indigenous plants 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​

Conducts research on Actinobacteria isolated from mangrove areas and other rare environments around the Philippines. The laboratory focuses on studying the antimicrobial properties of these Actinobacteria against medically important pathogens and biocontrol potentials against economically important plant pathogens. It also developed ACTICon™, a new biocontrol agent against the deadly Fusarium wilt of Cavendish banana.

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

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

To produce useful plant-based products, the 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, the laboratory conducts tissue culture of economically-important plants like coconut, banana, ginger and orchids. Developed in the laboratory is the protocol for the rapid mass propagation of Moringa oleifera and Aloe barbadensis.

The laboratory is one of the Institute’s Special Laboratories. It focuses on the application of computational methods on microbial genome data mining. Its 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. The laboratory hopes to introduce modern bioinformatics techniques to enhance BIOTECH’s strength in microbial biotechnology.

PROGRAM LEADER

PROGRAM TEAM

Edwin P. Alcantara, PhD
Scientist I
Sarah Jane S. Baterina
Laboratory Technician III
Guian Paolo S. Crisostomo
Laboratory Technician II
Aileen B. Custodio, MSc
University Researcher II
Alyssa M. De Castro,MSc
University Research Associate II
Atanacio C. Manzo
Laboratory Aide II
Eufrocinio C. Marfori, PhD
Scientist I
Irene A. Papa, MSc
University Researcher III
Bernadette T. Rapiz
University Research Associate I
John Edward I. Zapater
University Research Associate II