The Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) recently collaborated with the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (NIMBB) of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman in a research project on enhancing the virus detection technology for abaca diseases.  This project specifically aims to come-up with an improved technology in detecting viruses to attain an efficient and sustainable abaca disease management system.

The DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), through its Biotech Program Office, provided funds amounting to P8.3 million for this project which is targeted to deliver results by January 2018.  For 2015, the DA-BAR initially downloaded P4 million to PhilFIDA to start out the conduct of research.  

From this project, the PhilFIDA Research Division and UP-NIMBB is expected to develop:

  • Improved protocol on antigen production using fused protein genes;
  • Optimized technology on antiserum production for the detection of abaca bunch-top virus (ABTV), banana bunchy-top virus (BBTV), banana bract mosaic virus (BBrMV) and mosaic virus in abaca (SCMV-strain);
  • Improved nucleic-acid based detection techniques for abaca viruses; &
  • Scientific publications and brochures of the technology. 

This research project is expected to make the Philippines self-reliant in the production of antisera for the detection of abaca viruses.  The technology will help in the early detection of virus diseases which is important in the production and distribution of disease-free planting materials needed for the abaca rehabilitation and expansion program of the agency.  Further, all data generated from this research will be significantly helpful in the development of a genetically modified abaca which is aimed to effectively combat viral disease infection.  


Dr. Vermando Aquino of UP-NIMBB receiving funds from DA-PhilFIDA for the research project.  From left to right: Dr. Leny Galvez and OIC-Chief Jose Catalla of PhilFIDA Research Division, Dr. Vermando Aquino, DA-Biotechnology Program Office Director Antonio Alfonso, OIC-Deputy Executive Director Petronilo Jabay and OIC Executive Director Clarito Barron, Ph. D. CESO IV