Three (3) research and development projects were highlighted during the 1st ONELAB R&D Conference organized by Department of Science and Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI) from March 28-29, 2022 via Zoom and Facebook Live. Different DOST Regional Offices and affiliates participated this two-day activity, with the purpose of showcasing the widened function of Regional Standards and Testing Laboratories (RSTLs) from being a testing and calibration facility in line with ISO/IEC 17025:2017 into an R&D hub leading to translatable S&T interventions that can impact the community.
One of the three projects, from the Microbiology Laboratory of DOST Region IX titled “Effect of Environment (Air) on the Safety and Quality of Bakery Products” presented by Mr. Fortunato L. Galabin III, aims to assess the aerial bacterial and fungal counts in the processing areas of identified bakeshop in Zamboanga City. The data collected were used to estimate the post-processing contamination risk by plotting them in a statistical control chart. This serves as evidence for the extent of the food safety training (Food Hazards, GMP, HACCP) needed by the cooperators which are provided for free by the DOST IX Food Safety Team by means of on-site assessment and consultations.
Another project from the Physical/chemical laboratory presented by Ms. Ellyssa Mae Pendergat titled “Determination of Heavy Metals in Raw Cacao Beans Produced in Zamboanga Peninsula” focuses in quality monitoring of cacao beans in Zamboanga Peninsula. This project aims to establish a baseline data on the status of our homegrown cacao beans in terms of quality and safety based on the Philippine National Standard BAFPS 58:2008. Since high concentration of heavy metals in cacao beans and its products have been reported in several studies and threatens food security and economic development, there is a need to assess these products whether they are within the standards. Currently, there is no required quality testing for raw cacao beans in the country for buying and selling of raw cacao beans.
The third project titled “Effects of long-Term Storage on the Mechanical Properties of Selected Standard Philippine Rubber”, as presented by Mr. Shadam Suganob, investigated the effect of prolonged storage on Mooney Viscosity, Initial Plasticity and Plasticity Retention Index of natural rubber. The goal of this study is to come up with a data on the optimum storage duration of selected rubber bales in Philippine Standard Condition. Rubber products can remain in inventory for long periods of time especially when the selling price of rubber is low. Storage conditions such as temperature, humidity, ozone, and exposure to light affect the shelf life of rubber. By having a data on the estimated shelf life of rubber, rubber processors can make informed decisions on storage periods of natural rubber.
These studies also aid in the manpower services of RSTL in the region and assist in Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in innovating their product by improving production and manufacturing processes enabling them to develop better quality and globally competitive products.