Scientific breakthroughs on probiotics and functional food take center stage in the three-day “FLAM (From Farm to Lab, Accelerated to the Market): Harnessing Probiotics and Functional Foods in Bridging Health and Nutrition Divides” that opened in Batac, Ilocos Norte on Monday, attended by international experts.
In her speech, Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) president Shirley Agrupis underscored the significance of the summit to advance the development of genuine probiotics, making use of locally available plant sources to maximize their potentials through research and development.
“This summit stands as a testament to our collective commitment, marking a significant step towards a future where research and innovation drive positive change for the benefit of society,” she said.
Hosted by the Indigenous Food Research Consortium based in MMSU, the summit delegates are from the Asian Institute of Technology of Thailand, Kasetsart University of Thailand, National Institute of Technology (Kosen), Oyoma College of Japan, Tohoku Medical and Pharmaceutical University of Japan, Rutgers University of the United States, University of the Philippines Manila, Los Baños in Laguna and Visayas, University of San Agustin in Iloilo City, Zamboanga State College of Marine Science and Technology, and Herbanext Laboratories, Inc.
At the MMSU alone, the university has been actively promoting the planting of Allukon (Broussonetia luzonica), a wonder vegetable that grows in the wild in nearly all towns of Ilocos Norte.
Male inflorescences and tops are cooked as viand while female inflorescences are also edible but less preferred.
Another is Palali (Dillenia philippinensis), also known as katmon in Filipino.
The food plant is found in medium to high elevations in Adams, Pagudpud, and Surong Valley of Vintar, Ilocos Norte. Fresh fruits are edible with sour and juicy characteristics. The pulp is also used as souring ingredient in fish dishes such as sinigang.
Bilagot (Schismatoglottis sp.) on the other hand is a food plant that thrives in moist areas, water reservoirs and stream banks in the towns of Adams, Dumalneg, Bangui, and Nueva Era. Sugudsugod (Momordica cochinchinensis) is also widely distributed in Ilocos Norte. It is naturally grown in the wild in thickets, hills, mountains, and marginal areas.
In some areas of the province, the plant has been domesticated as the young fruits of sugudsugod are used as vegetable viand cooked or sauteed with other vegetables and fish paste.
Tops can also be blanched for green salad, or cooked as viand together with other leafy vegetables or mungbean seeds.
Fruits of sugudsugod contain up to 70 times the amount of lycopene in tomato, and up to 10 times the amount of beta-carotene of carrot or sweet potato. Fruits also contain a protein that may inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells. (PNA)