By Ma. Josebelle Bagulaya
THREE SILLIMANIANS WERE adjudged as this year’s Bank of the Philippine Islands- Department of Science and Technology (BPI-DOST) Science awardees. The awardees were chosen for the quality of their research work, academic performance and leadership background.
Senior students Kin Israel Notarte, Kharyl Mae Fulmaran and Rosette Jill Fernandez were selected along with thirty students from ten partner universities that include University of the Philippines and Ateneo De Manila University. Partner universities nominate top three students with the best research papers for the annual BPI-DOST awards, which “encourage promising scientists and researchers to reach the higher levels of excellence in their respective fields.”
First in the world.
Notarte’s groundbreaking study on “Fractionation, Phytochemical, Screening and Bioactivity Analyses on Green Alga, Bornetella oligaspora, Solms-Laubach, Using Sea Urchin Embryonic Development and DPPH Free Radical Scavenging Assay” focuses on the anticancer and antioxidant properties of green alga.
His thesis, Notarte said, is the world’s first research study on the biomedical application of green alga. “The effect was promising since the chemicals caused little apoptosis indicating that the compounds having anti-cancer property have less killing effects to normal cells,” the biology student said. The study attempts to extract the biochemical and therapeutic properties of green alga (bornetella oligospora) by separating its different chemicals. The sea urchin embryonic system was used as the anticancer test and the DPPH (diphenylpicrylhydrazyl) free radical scavenging was examined for its antioxidant property.
Notarte said his research is a spinoff of a high school investigative group project, which won in the International Science and Engineering Fair held in Reno, Nevada last 2009. He added that the therapeutic property of the green alga may be “due to chemicals belonging to the class terpenoid.” Terpenoid are widely found in plants and are used as traditional herbal remedies.
Better than Chemotherapy
Unlike chemotherapy, the cancercuring property of green alga is capable of killing cancer cells while rendering less harm to normal cells, Notarte said. “The problem today is on chemotherapeutic agents being not only effective against cancer cells but also having killing effects on normal cells,” he added.
Although the project has shown positive feedbacks as a substitute for chemotherapy, Notarte noted, the study still requires more testing to find out the true nature of the green alga’s compounds. “In order to establish that it is better than chemotherapy, more intensive analyses should be done. We are still so far ruling this out but the research, at least, is showing signs that it could be an alternative,” he said.
Meanwhile, in her research project “The Effect of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) Plastic Bottles as a Material for Class A Concrete Mixture”, Civil Engineering student Fulmaran studied the effect of adding shredded plastic bottles to ordinary concrete mixture.
Fulmaran said that her research stems from the idea of having quality concrete and the problem of increasing plastic wastes.
“My study targets two things. First, to help the environment by making use of [plastic] wastes. Second, to improve the type of concrete that can be made,” she said.
“Plastic bottles improve the compressive strength of concrete by increasing its load of capacity since plastic bottles are light, shatterproof and can fill the voids of the different components in the concrete,” she added.
Fernandez, a physics student, wrote a paper on “A Comparative Study on the Infrared Radiation Intensities of Common Pavements and Ground Types”.
To honor the awardees, the university will have an awarding ceremony at the Audio-Visual Theater on March 7.