PNRI Says Carrageenan PGP Now Available in Market

Media Release:

Carrageenan PGP increases the yield and improves the quality of crops. 30% More Rice! Carrageenan PGP Now Available in the Market

FILIPINO farmers can now look forward to a greater harvest, as the radiation-processed Carrageenan Plant Growth Promoter (PGP) formulated by the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) is already available in the market!

The Carrageenan PGP is already being launched nationwide by various technology adopters, distributing it through various dealers, cooperatives and other possible arrangements. For an optimal amount of nine liters per hectare, farmers could use the PGP along with conventional fertilizers.

According to PNRI Scientist Dr. Lucille Abad, the formula has been proven to increase rice yields by as much as 30% versus the yield from average farmer practices, while also making the crops more resistant to blight and infestation caused by tungro virus, and strengthening the crops’ extensive root systems, which can better withstand the effects of lodging during typhoons.

The PGP also had the effect of driving away harmful pests without harming insects and arthropods which are naturally beneficial to crops.

DOST Carrageenan

Not only does the PGP increase the number of cavans, but it also made each cavan heavier and fully-laden with rice. With the PGP, farmers could earn up to an additional Php16,000, or more than $300 – an increase in income by over 19%.

Scientists from the DOST-PNRI developed the PGP from carrageenan, a natural polymer extracted from red seaweed. Using the fabricated liquid handling system at PNRI’s Electron Beam Irradiation Facility (EBIF), the carrageenan solution is processed using electron beams into a foliar fertilizer sprayed at certain stages in the plant’s life.

The PGP was funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) and tested in cooperation with the University of the Philippines-Los Baños National Crop Protection Center (UPLB-NCPC).

The formula was set for field trials by the Department of Agriculture (DA) from 2015 to 2019 to cover several provinces in Luzon, Panay Island, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Davao Region, for a total of around 35,000 hectares of farmland. Farmers can maximize the potential yield of their crops when using PGP in conjunction with more efficient farming methods and proper timing.

DOST Carrageenan 2

Other food crops such as mungbean, peanut, leafy vegetables, corn, sugarcane, and banana are also being subjected to PGP field tests, where results showed an increase in yield by around 35% for mungbean and around 40% for peanut.

More than just improving the yield and agronomic traits, scientists are also pushing the limits of the PGP’s beneficial effects, particularly whether it can help crops survive in adverse conditions, which become increasingly likely due to climate change as well as natural disasters.

The Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) has certified the PGP for commercialization in rice, with plans to widen its coverage to include other crops in the near future.

Visit the Carrageenan PGP exhibit along with other marvels of nuclear science and technology at the 2019 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) celebration from July 17 to 21 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. (PNRI Media)

Featured images courtesy of DOST-PNRI.

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