KNOWN as the country’s national fruit, the pulpy-sweet mango is the third most important fruit crop next to banana and pineapple in terms of export volume and value, according to the Department of Agriculture High Value Crops Development Program.
The carabao mango, or otherwise known as the Philippine super mango, is one of the most loved varieties in the world for its sweetness, aroma and exotic taste.
In the study on “Genetic Markers and Immuno-based Identification of Philippine Carabao Mango,” project leader Dr. Edgardo E. Tulin from the Visayas State University said there is a problem with the authentication of Philippine carabao mango due to mislabelling in many nurseries and orchards in the country.
“We cannot be sure if the mango seedlings they have [in nurseries] are those of carabao mango. It takes years to bear fruit, so we really need to be sure before we plant it. Otherwise, we will wait for five years; then, it’s useless if we find out later that it’s not carabao mango after all,” Tulin said.
The study aims to develop a “dipstick” kit, which when dipped into the mango leaf extract will react by showing a distinctive line with a dark purple color indicative of a positive carabao mango reaction.
Otherwise, no line and no color of other mango varieties will appear on the membrane of the stick.
Tulin said with the completion of the study, the mango growers can be guaranteed that the planting materials being sold in the nurseries are true-to-type carabao mango.
Likewise, the nurseries can confidently propagate genuine carabao mango seedlings.
The dipstick is a disposable product with an estimated cost of less than P100. The target markets of the dipstick are nurseries, plantations, or the Bureau of Plant Industry which can use it for the accreditation of nurseries and other regulatory purposes.
Tulin, however, noted that there is no protein sequencing facility yet in the country, which could build a gap for this kind of initiative. Hence, he hopes to have a protein sequencing facility in the Visayas to further their research as carabao mango is the country’s “gold mine”.
The accomplishments of the project were presented during the Science and Technology Forum on Agri-Aqua Genomics held on November 26 at the ICTO Audio-Visual Room in Diliman, Quezon City, in celebration of the 10th National Biotechnology Week. The forum was organized by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development, the funding agency of the project.
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons