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PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR:
Wilberto D. Monotilla, PhD
WDM
The Aquatic Biotechnology Laboratory specializes in the cultivation of microalgal and seaweed cultures to study their industrial and commercial applications. From its establishment in 2009, ABL has grown from a single workbench laboratory to a laboratory sporting its own facilities including a plant growth chamber, ultralow freezer and liquid nitrogen tank.

Biofuel from Green microalgae
Green microalgae such as Chlorella, Scenedemus, Botrycoccus and diatom isolates are being cultivated to provide renewable sources of biofuel.

Studies are being conducted on the effect of modifying growth conditions to enhance lipid production. Nutrient starvation (e.g. decrease in nitrogen, phosphate and silica) is known to promote lipid accumulation within cells. The laboratory also aims to find genes involved in the oil-producing mechanisms of algae for genetic manipulation.

Production of Red Seaweed
The laboratory is also geared towards developing technologies to improve production capacities of Philippine Eucheumatoids (red seaweeds).

Seaweed tissue culture studies aim to establish improved callus induction protocols for micropropagation and to develop cryopreservation methods to preserve strains with the best genetic makeup.

Micropropagation, or in vitro clonal propagation, enables the rapid production of a large number of individuals for use as seedlings. Cryopreservation permits long term storage at ultralow temperatures while maintaining the integrity of the genetic make-up. The laboratory also aims to study the production of carageenan, a high value polysaccharide obtained from Eucheumatoids.

Another area of interest is the production of bacteriocins from seaweed-associated bacteria. Bacteriocins are proteins that inhibit the growth of closely related bacterial strains and may be useful as antibiotics.

Research Publications Dumilag, R. ., Aguinaldo, Z.-Z. ., Mintu, C. B., Quinto, M. P., Ame, E. ., Andres, R. C., Monotilla, W. D., et al. (2016). Morphological and molecular confirmation of the occurrence of pyropia tanegashimensis (bangiales, rhodophyta) from Palaui Is., Sta. Ana, Cagayan, Philippines. Phytotaxa, 255(1), 83-90.

de la Pena, L., Cabillon, N., Catedral, D., Amar, E., Usero, R., Monotilla, W., Calpe, A., et al. (2015). Acute hepatopancreatic necrosis disease (AHPND) outbreaks in Penaeus vannamei and P. monodon cultured in the Philippines. DISEASES OF AQUATIC ORGANISMS, 116(3), 251-254.

Juntila, D. J., Bautista, M. A., & Monotilla, W. (2015). Biomass and lipid production of a local isolate Chlorella sorokiniana under mixotrophic growth conditions. Bioresource Technology, 191, 395-398.