Filipino researchers host virtual book launch on Methods in Microalgal Studies

  • Written by  Harlene May Viesca
  • Published in News

Serving as a compendium of techniques that are suitable for local conditions in studying microalgae, Professor Emeritus Milagrosa R. Martinez-Goss, UP Scientist Windell R. Rivera, and Associate Professor Nerissa K. Torreta hosted the virtual launching of the book titled, “Methods in Microalgal Studies” on 09 December 2020.

Methods in Microalgal Studies is a collaborative work of 26 scientists and was reviewed by 28 Filipino biology and phycology experts. The 183-page book is published by the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and the Philippine Science Letters (PSL).

UPLB Professor Emeritus Milagrosa R. Martinez-Goss introduces the contents of their book, “Methods in Microalgal Studies.”

Dr. Martinez-Goss takes pride in the uniqueness and relevance of this publication. According to her, there are 16 chapters with six major topics that feature the “methods that have been adapted under Philippine conditions, usually using materials that are easily available” for studying microalgae. It also shows the “growing interest in microalgae for their various uses in the industry, as in pharmaceuticals, food, feed, and biofuel.”

Findings from the recent study of Professor Emeritus Martinez-Goss together with Mr. Eldrin Arguelles, Dr. Antonio Laurena, and Dr. Rosario Monsalud have shown that the green microalga, Desmodesmus sp., can be considered for quality animal feed and biofuel production.

Four authors also shared their experiences, and talked about the chapters they wrote for the book -- Dr. Pierangeli G. Vital of UP Diliman, Dr. Edison Roi D. Macusi of Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology, Dr. Rowena Oane of the International Rice Research Institute, and Dr. Lawrence M. Liao of Hiroshima University in Japan.

Screenshot of participants and authors during the virtual book launch.

Microalgae are microscopic organisms, found in both freshwater and seas, that are capable of photosynthesis. Unfortunately, Dr. Vital pointed out that “algae have negative connotation” among the public, relating them mostly to bad situations like the red tide.

During her talk on algal taxonomy, Dr. Vital emphasized that there are still many untapped discoveries in the herbarium of algae, just like in the herbarium of plants. Meanwhile, Dr. Oane stressed the importance of having a centralized laboratory for microscopy as this will uplift the quality of microalgal research in the university.

Dr. Rivera, one of the authors and editors, emphasized that their book will be a good resource on microalgal studies for both aspiring and established researchers. On the other hand, Prof. Torreta reiterated that standardizing practices and methods for microalgal research in laboratories and schools will facilitate easier comparison of data.

UPLB Chancellor Jose V. Camacho Jr. expressed support for the entire team because the book will help in “standardizing current and upcoming research in the study of microalgae.”

Dr. Martinez-Goss is a Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS) under the UPLB College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). Specializing in the field of phycology, she was also a curator for algae and diatoms at the UPLB Museum of Natural History (MNH).

Dr. Rivera is a Professor 12 at the Institute of Biology under the College of Science of UP Diliman, and is also recognized as UP Scientist III by the UP Scientific Productivity System (SPS) for 2015-2017 and 2018-2020. He is also a member of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST PHL), and a co-editor of PSL.

Professor Torreta is an Associate Professor 5 also at IBS, UPLB CAS, specializing on phycology, phytoplankton dynamics, and morpho-anatomical studies on indigenous Philippine plants.

PSL is a peer-reviewed, online, open-access journal featuring scientific studies that are conducted by Filipino researchers, conducted specifically in the Philippines, or those that are relevant to the country.

Softbound copies of the Methods in Microalgal Studies can be bought for PHP300.00 at the UPLB University Publications Office. An e-book may also be downloaded for free at the PSL’s website.