By Yahoo! Southeast Asia Editors – May 20th, 2010
By Kim Patria, Yahoo! Southeast Asia staff writer
Dealing with local environmental and health problems using materials found locally, four incoming college students from the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) bagged multiple awards at an international science fair in California, May 14.
Marc Mapalo, 16; Jean Reni De Guzman, 17; Maria Clara Isabel Sia, 15; and Marc Arthur Jordan Limpiado, 16, who recently graduated from the PSHS Eastern Visayas Campus in Leyte, arrived on Monday bearing prizes from the Intel International Science Fair (ISEF) where more than 1,600 pre-college students from 59 participating countries competed.
The team of Mapalo, De Guzman, and Sia bagged fourth place in the team competition with their study on red tide while Limpiado’s research on the antibacterial properties of seaweed extracts also took home fourth place.
“We wanted to provide solutions to the problems in the country using locally available materials,” Mapalo said, explaining how they used natural materials like clay, shrimp peelings, and malunggay seeds to clot algae in water.
Algae are microscopic waterborne plants, an excess of which covers water surfaces, depriving fish and other marine life of oxygen.
“Red tide is a problem in the Philippines,” Sia said, citing the case of Sorsogon Bay in the Bicol region which is frequently declared a red tide area.
Meanwhile, Limpiado, who probed how seaweed extracts can potentially kill bacteria, said his findings suggest that the antibacterial properties of Philippine seaweeds are comparable with that of the generic antibiotic amoxicillin mixed with acid.
Limpiado stressed that he used crude extraction by simply soaking seaweeds in liquid solutions, saying that more advanced processes of extraction like liquid chromatography could produce better results.
“My study could also be further improved to include antiviral applications,” Limpiado added.
Intel Philippines Country Manager Ricky Banaag said two out of three of the projects sent by the Philippine delegation won, with Hanna Escobido and Brayl Ymbol of CARAGA State University Cabadbaran Campus also competing.
The Philippine team was selected through a nationwide competition in the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City in February.
Banaag added that some countries like Brazil had more than 30 participants.
Asked if the number of projects other countries send pose pressure on Intel Philippines to produce more research outputs, Banaag said they prefer quality over quantity.
Dr. Filma Brawner, president of the PSHS system, meanwhile, said all their students are expected to produce research projects as part of their school requirements.
Brawner added that the students’ winning projects will be pursued by PSHS by making some students work on the recommendations.
All four students are enrolling this June. Sia will take up computer science at the Ateneo de Manila University; Limpiado and Mapalo enrolling in UP Diliman under the chemical engineering and molecular biology and biotechnology programs respectively; and De Guzman taking up biology in UP Los Baños.
Photos by Nykko Santos/NPPA Images
June is here and classes are near. haha :)
PAPASOK PA LANG SA SCHOOL