In line with the vision of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to ensure global food and nutrition security, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) presented the “Bacteriophage in Food Safety: Biosensing and Biocontrol of Food Pathogens” program.
The program is among the featured projects in the Talakayang HeaRT Beat media conference on Wednesday. Under this program, researchers from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) explore the use of bacteriophages in maintaining food safety, with support from DOST-PCHRD.
PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime Montoya discussed that the program is composed of two component projects. The project of Dr. Jose H. Bergantin, Jr. focuses on developing an electrochemical impedance biosensor array using isolated as bioreceptors to detect selectively Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.
On the other hand, the project of Dr. Donna May D. Papa concentrates on producing a phage product to be used as a biocontrol agent for foodborne pathogens.
According to PCHRD, the first project already completed the preparation of bacteriophages for further research activities on the development of the biosensor, such as the optimization of study parameters including the incubation time, washing step, and phage concentration.
While the second project has already isolated the specific strains of Salmonella and Listeria, which will be used in formulating bacteriophages.
These projects are expected to contribute to maintaining food safety and preventing foodborne disease outbreaks from using raw and processed meat.
The bacteriophages are considered to be cost-effective, accessible, and highly specific. They are also able to withstand food preparation conditions and have a relatively long shelf life, which is relevant in maintaining food safety.
“This project is part of our ongoing thrust to resolve current and emerging issues in nutrition and food safety,” Dr. Montoya said.
Other programs presented during the media conference were Technology Generation for the Production of Fortified Coco-Dairy Milk Blend and Relationship of Body Composition to the Functional Capacity and Quality of Life of Older in Selected Provinces in the Philippines. (JAFD/PIA-PMD)