UP scientist develops bio-fertilizer to improve sugarcane yield

UP scientist bio-fertilizer sugarcane
Dr. Virginia Padilla developed the Nutrio biofertilizer which increases the yield of sugarcane production and addresses the constraints of unstable sugar prices and high labor cost. Photo from DOST-PCAARRD.

University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) scientist Dr. Virginia M. Padilla has developed Nutrio, a foliar spray bio-fertilizer that improves the growth and yield of sugarcane.

The Nutrio bio-fertilizer for sugarcane which contains endophytic bacteria that are nitrogen-fixing organisms has been isolated, screened, and tested for improved growth and yield of sugarcane plants, announced the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).

Developer-researcher Dr. Virginia M. Padilla says the relatively new bio-fertilizer in the market not only lessens the amount of agrochemicals used in the plantations but also allows for higher yield with lower cost.

“Nutrio biofertilizer improved cane and sugar yields by 10% to 30% when it was used in combination with one-half of the rates used by farmers,” Dr. Padilla said in a statement released by the DOST on March 11, 2021.

“Similarly, cane and sugar yields increased when used in combination with half of the rates recommended by Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA). Hence, applying only 50% of inorganic Nitrogen (N) can give farmers 50% savings from the total cost of inorganic N,” Dr. Padilla adds.

As a bio-fertilizer, Nutrio makes use of micro-organisms that improves the ability of plants to assimilate nutrients. The lessened use of agrochemicals helps the field keep its nutrients and slows down soil degradation and groundwater contamination.

A 100-gram packet of Nutrio costs P200 to P250 with a shelf life of six to eight months. Application is by spraying onto the leaves of the plants.

The product was tested through the recently-completed PCAARRD-funded project, “Toxicological Study and Pilot Testing of Nutrio Biofertilizer for Improved Production of Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum L.) in Regions III and VI.”

Aside from two pilot tests, the project conducted successful demonstration trials in Capas, Tarlac; Silay Negros Occidental; Lico-an Barotaq, Nuevo Iloilo; Pando, Concepcion Tarlac; Tiwi, Barotaq Nuevo Iloilo; and La Granja, La Carlota, and Negros Occidental.

Production of Nutrio foliar spray biofertilizer is licensed to Fullmight Agricultural Corporation, a family-owned corporation in Los Baños, Laguna.

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPhil) has already approved the inventor’s patent application declaring the invention as a novel, inventive, and industrially applicable.

Researchers from the University of the Philippines Los Baños have also developed HormoGroe, a low-cost and natural root growth enhancer.

UP Los Baños is promoting agriculture and food security through their edible landscaping starter kits distributed to selected families amid the pandemic and developed a new hybrid of the tropical flower hibiscus, known locally as gumamela to celebrate notable Filipinas who are heroes, scientists, artists, and leaders.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) scientist Dr. Virginia M. Padilla who developed Nutrio, a foliar spray bio-fertilizer that improves the growth and yield of sugarcane.

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Margo Hannah De Guzman Quadra
Margo is a voracious reader - some might even say she reads too much for her own good. She majored in BS Psychology and hopes to become a forensic psychologist one day. She’s also an aspiring writer, mental health advocate, and a staunch believer of equality.