EXCLUSIVE: Cavite scientists discover how squids can help in disaster management

Cavite scientists disaster management
Water samples from Cavite’s river systems with the isolated bacteria glowing brighter in the darkroom. Credits to Marlon Pareja.

Four scientists from De La Salle University – Dasmarinas (DLSU-D) in Cavite have discovered how native Philippine squid can help with disaster management tools for addressing water pollution.

In an exclusive interview with the science research faculty team of the DLSU-D Biological Sciences Department and Environmental Resources Management Center, Good News Pilipinas learned that the Cavite scientists were able to isolate a light-emitting bacteria from a Philippine native squid and discovered its potential to detect water pollution.

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The research team of Marlon Pareja, Jocelyn Luyon, Ma. Luisa Cuaresma, and Ruth America were able to isolate the bacteria Photobacterium leiognathi from Photololigo duvaucelii, a native Philippine squid and a usual squid found in the Filipino diet.

The bacteria is bioluminescent which means it emits light and is part of the squid’s ink.

“Once isolated, we want to know if the ability of the bacteria to emit light can be used to detect water pollution using water samples from rivers found in the province of Cavite”, shared Cuaresma.

“We found out that increasing degree of water pollution in the water samples also showed increasing emission of light by the bacteria when the bacteria were mixed with the water samples”, added America.

The Philippine native squid’s ink contains light-emitting bacteria that may be used in detecting water pollution. Credits to Marlon Pareja.

Marlon Pareja, the project’s team leader, shared the backstory of the discovery of the water-based research.

“We stumbled on a recent research on bacteria from a native squid. We thought, ‘What if ang brightness ng ilaw ng bacteria would indicate a type of water quality? That is our question.

“Then kung ok, puwede natin magamit as a sort of fast inexpensive diagnostic tool na mareplicate (parang pregnancy test kit). Then kung ok yun, makakatulong tayo sa LGUs sa monitoring at sa mga flooded zones.

“Fortunately, the result is positive. It can be used to indicate pollution and degree of pollution.”

Pareja, an internationally-acknowledged sustainability expert who has led DLSU-D in its various efforts to be a green university, said their discovery will prove useful to disaster management efforts.

“The next step is to make this discovery something that is applicable. That’s why we will team up with other researchers in developing portable sensors to easily detect water pollution especially is disaster-struck areas,” said Pareja.

The project also demonstrated the need for Filipinos to take care of the country’s marine resources since the “the bacteria and squid was found to be rich in antioxidants,” noted Luyon.

The Cavite scientists’ research project was funded by DLSU-D.

SEND congratulations in the comments below to these Cavite scientists from DLSU-D for using their knowledge to help in disaster management!

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