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PSU – DOST 1 FOOD INNOVATION CENTER: BRINGING INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY IN THE REGION

Sunday, July 18, 2021 12:16 PM    Views : 508by:Jessa Kate G. Parrocha, Project Assistant II, DOST-1

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The Regional Food Innovation Center (FIC) is established in each region of the country to serve as a hub for innovations, research and development (R&D), and support services for value-adding of fresh produce and development of processed foods. It is envisioned that through the Center, innovative technologies, relevant support services, technical expertise, necessary infrastructures, and facilities will be more accessible for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the urban centers and countryside for a more effective technology application, technology transfer, and commercialization for sustained economic growth and productivity (FIC Generic Operational Manual, 2016).

The Pangasinan State University – Food Innovation Center (PSU-FIC) located in Bayambang Campus is among the FICs in Region 1. It houses equipment locally designed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) such as spray dryer, water retort machine, vacuum fryer, and freeze dryer. Serving as one-stop food research and development facility, the PSU-FIC provides local food processors opportunity to innovate on old products, produce new ones, or create new benefits to agricultural and fishery resources.

In an interview with Ms. Meryl A. Bernardino, Project Assistant II at PSU-FIC, she mentioned the R&D outputs of PSU-FIC. Among these are the technologies developed by the FIC which are the vacuum fried products such as squash, onion, mushroom, and okra. Also, the FIC developed the process and formulation of binagoongang bangus, tomato salsa and chili buro; Cabinet dried products include mango processed products such as dried mango, dried ube powder and mango roll; indian mango products such as chutney, mango jam and mango vinegar were also processed by the FIC. Moreover, the technology of burong walang amoy was also developed in FIC. The Center also optimized the formulation for tupig, bukayo and bibingka which Professor Veronica C. Austria, Chairman of TLE Department Faculty Researcher at Pangasinan State University, was interviewed for in two radio programs Radio Agila and DZMQ. These were all funded by the DOST-1.

And just recently, Ms. Bernardino presented an important achievement— the terminal report on Candon Calamay and Ube Processing Project to the DOST 1 via Microsoft Teams where she showed the successful innovation of the project. From the usual shelf life of five (5) days, they were able to prolong it to up to 29 days through the use of hurdle technologies such as standardization of the formula of the Candon Calamay, retort processing, use of vacuum packaging, and addition of potassium sorbate at 0.1% as preservative. The researchers of the said project include Dr. Racquel C. Pambid, Dr. Wilma M. de Vera, Ms. Veronica C. Austria, and Ms. Meryl A. Bernardino and the research was funded by DOST-1 through its Grants-In-Aid program last CY 2020.

When asked why they chose to innovate the Candon Calamay, of all the products, Ms. Bernardino mentioned that native delicacies are integral part of the rich food culture of the Philippines. It is a popular food giveaway, and it generates income to the Calamay makers in Region 1 specifically Candon City in the province of Ilocos Sur. However, product improvement must be done involving the shelf life and packaging. The high-water content of Candon Calamay makes it a favorable environment for spoilage microorganisms, raising quality concerns. Also, its plastic packaging is permeable to oxygen. These factors may affect the income of MSMEs when they were unable to sell all their products within five days. This research, therefore, does not only help in the preservation of Filipino native delicacies but it also helps the local processors to enhance product quality and speed up production to improve their value chain activities thus reducing their costs and increasing their profit.

On one hand, ube as a root crop is also highly perishable. In order to preserve ube for longer period of time, it can be processed into powder and can be added as an ingredient to bread and rice cakes due to its vibrant purple color. Nutritious, shelf-stable, and highly acceptable processed products made from ube powder needs to be developed.  Thus, FIC developed and standardized the process and formulation of making ube calamay and ube buyos using the rehydrated ube flour. This will increase utilization of ube powder as raw ingredient and help the processors in the mobilization of ube powder production.  Offering new products in the market such as ube calamay and ube buyos may increase the potential income of local processors.

The product already passed the tests on food consumption and gained customers acceptability and is now recommended for deployment to the target beneficiaries which are the Candoy Calamay Processors of Ilocos Sur and Agoo Ube Processors of La .

Aside from product innovation, the PSU-FIC also offers academic support to students from any university on their research studies, technical assistance to MSMEs related to food processing and product shelf-life extension, provides training, extension, and licensing to adopters, and it also offers lease of equipment that are available in the FIC such as spray dryer, water retort machine, freeze drier, vacuum fryer, cabinet drier, band sealer and vacuum packaging machine.

Truly, the establishment of FIC in the region has helped a lot of MSMEs, students, and researchers, and the center looks forward to more R&D outputs that will benefit the community.

To know more about the PSU-FIC, you may contact Dr. Raquel C. Pambid, FIC Head through the following:

[email protected]

Contact Number: 09062234951

(By Jessa Kate G. Parrocha, Project Assistant II, DOST-1)

Source: DOST-Region I website

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