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PHA project receives 5-M funding from DOST-PCIEERD

The DOST-PCIEERD (Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development) endowed a Php 5-million funding to a research project of the Department of Engineering Science. Spearheaded by Dr. Jey-R S. Ventura, an Assistant Professor of the Department, the study tackles the production of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) from agricultural residues.

The production of bioplastics is an emerging research as it addresses the country’s solid waste management problem. In addition, bioplastic application extends to smart drug delivery and biocompatibility. As such, this study aims to initiate the investigation of PHA production using cheap agricultural residues, progressively enhancing its efficiency to come-up with a market-competitive biomaterial.

The research project is divided into three stages: first, the production of PHA will be optimized by identifying the best microbial strain for fermentation, selecting the best substrate, and fine-tuning the fermentation process to yield PHA with the optimum mechanical and chemical properties. Second, the bioplastic will be subjected to several tests including that for biodegradability. Finally, the market feasibility of PHA production will be established to determine the market price of PHA-derived bioplastic using agricultural residues.

This project is in collaboration with the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH).