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To advance local researches in health care, forensics and agriculture, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is boosting the country’s capability in genomics and bioinformatics through the establishment of a new core facility.

The DOST through the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) provided an initial budget of P98 million for the three-year establishment of DNA Sequencing and Bioinformatics Core Facilities at the Philippines Genome Center (PGC). The facilities will be located at the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City and will be launched on October 11, 2012.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is setting up various facilities and laboratories that will help local industries develop products that meet the requirements of the export market.

Testing laboratories and research facilities for the semiconductor and electronics industry as well as for the biotechnology, nanotechnology and genomics industries are being established or upgraded. Once completed, these facilities will provide local industries access to affordable quality testing services. Currently, local companies send their samples and materials overseas for testing and analysis. Researchers and design engineers also have to go abroad to access state-of-the-art test facilities and laboratories.

The Advanced Device and Materials Testing Laboratory (ADMATEL) is being established at the DOST Compound in Bicutan, Taguig City, while the Solar Cell Characterization Facility and Philippine Genome Center at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman are both being equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. Meanwhile, the pilot plant of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at UP Los Baños (BIOTECH-UPLB) in Laguna is being upgraded to strengthen research and technology development.

Large quantities of wastes are generated from the rapid increase in livestock, growth of agriculture and food processing industries and accumulation of municipal solid wastes. This has led to higher methane emissions, increasing the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) in the atmosphere that affects the climate system. To address the rising emissions, efforts are being directed towards using methane as a clean energy source, at the same time cleaning the environment and deriving economic benefits therefrom.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) is helping harness energy from landfill waste by promoting the recovery and use of methane.

Methane, a hydrocarbon, is the second most abundant greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. It has the ability to trap heat in the atmosphere, which is called “global warming potential.”  As a greenhouse gas, methane is 21 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.  

If all goes according to plan, foods specifically designed for cancer and diabetes patients will be available to the public by 2014, this is according to researchers in genetics and molecular biology convened by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in the Stakeholders Workshop on Genomics Research and Development Roadmap held last October 3, 2011.

Genomics is one of the research priorities identified by the DOST. According to Science and Technology Secretary Mario G. Montejo, genomics research will be particularly helpful in the country's battle with various diseases such as dengue, diabetes, cancers, chronic lower respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Genomics is a transformational technology, Sec. Montejo said during the workshop organized by the DOST's Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) and held at the DOST in Bicutan, Taguig City. Through genetics research, we would be able to understand and develop cure for lifestyle diseases that dominate the leading causes of deaths in the Philippines.

Researchers fine-tune instrument to help bring down cost of air quality monitoring

Air pollution is a major concern in the Philippines, with air quality in urban cities getting worse because of the growing concentration of people, traffic and industries.

In Metro Manila, for instance, pollution levels along major thoroughfares are very high. Last year, the air quality monitoring (AQM) stations in EDSA-MRT Pasay and Valenzuela City recorded total suspended particles (TSP) levels of 230 micrograms per normal cubic meter (ug/Ncm). This is more than double the normal standard, which is 90ug/Ncm.

To get a clearer picture of the country's current state of air quality, more air monitoring posts should be set up. However, establishing AQM stations can be expensive since equipment are usually imported.