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Bamboo DNA Barcoding Begins in the Philippines

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To preserve and propagate the species in the typhoon-affected Cagayan Valley and to investigate bamboo’s potential for use in the pharmaceutical and industrial industries, phytochemical screening and DNA barcoding of economically significant bamboos will be conducted in the Philippines.

There are several benefits of using bamboo in the food, medicinal, phytochemical, medical, and industrial sectors, according to Alvin Jose L. Reyes and Eddie B. Abugan Jr from the Project Management Division (PMD) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Foreign Assisted and Special Projects.

They explained that seeds or living cells containing genetic resources beneficial for plant conservation and breeding are called germplasms. The DENR-PMD staff clarified that the classification of bamboo germplasm is an essential correlation between the preservation of diversity and utilisation of germplasm.

A study dubbed the Bamboo Characterisation Project of the Cagayan State University (CSU)-Gonzaga was recently presented to the DENR Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) in the province of Sta. Ana, Cagayan through its project leader Jeff M. Opeña. It has to do with its request for a free permit to carry out the bamboo characterisation and sample collecting tasks on the protected landscape and seascape of Palaui Island.

The CSU-Gonzaga research lab will also be renovated as part of the project. In the province of Cagayan, it will collect and classify various species in various environments. Furthermore, a contemporary and inventive method of classifying bamboo species will be DNA barcoding. It will speed up the process of experts identifying the species they want to utilise based on characteristics like quick reproduction or medicinal properties.

Bamboo has traditionally been classified according to how frequently or abundantly it flowers -annually, sporadically, or regularly, and gregariously. However, the demand for a long period of time, which might occur over years or even decades, made floral morphology description a limitation and a challenge.

On the other hand, professionals in pharmaceuticals and medicine can find plant secondary metabolites in bamboo that have application potential in the business through biochemical characterisation by phytochemical (plant chemistry) screening.

While secondary plant metabolites such as anthocyanins, alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, phenols, steroids, tannins, and terpenoids are explored for medical plant herbal reasons, among other prospective commercial uses, primary metabolites comprise tiny molecules like amino acids and carbohydrates.

Additionally, Executive Order 879 required that 25% of the Department of Education’s annual supply of school desks be constructed of bamboo. Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC) is created by Executive Order 879.

According to a direction sent to the DENR’s Forest Management Bureau, Laguna Lake Development Authority, and Mines and Geosciences Bureau, bamboo should be planted in the agency’s own reforestation zones.

In addition to reducing typhoon flooding, DENR wants to employ bamboo as a strategy for reducing climate change. Per hectare of a plantation, bamboo is known to absorb five metric tonnes of carbon dioxide. Bamboo is being planted in the Bicol and Marikina rivers, which are typically inundated during typhoons. Using engineered bamboo, DENR is also advocating its usage as a lumber replacement.

The first bamboo species studies to consider the various habitats where bamboo grows in the province of Cagayan are the phytochemical and morphological studies of bamboo species. The Smith Volcano, also known as Mount Babuyan, which is politically located in Calayan Island, and Mount Cagua in Gonzaga are the two volcanoes that the study of bamboo species growth will focus on.

Coastal locations, residential areas, grasslands, agroecosystems, next to water bodies, caverns, close the volcano, rainforests, islands, protected regions, and other habitats will be researched for the bamboo species using DNA barcoding.


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