Jonah Mae F. Taping and Al-hamsour K. Matanog, 4th year BS Biology Major in Microbiology students of the University of Southern Mindanao, and Bryan C. Bentor of the University of the Philippines Los Baños were the three shortlisted entries to the National Best Thesis Competition on Crop Biotechnology 2023. Organized by the Department of Agriculture-Crop Biotechnology Center (DA-CBC), the competition was open to all Filipino undergraduate or graduate students who have graduated or are candidates for graduation in SY 2020-2023. According to the competition guidelines, entries were shortlisted based on the presence of a biotechnology component, potential impact, and the eligibility of the participant.
The shortlisted candidates presented their research at the DA-Philrice, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, with their travel and accommodation expenses shouldered by DA-CBC. Their presentations were evaluated based on biotechnology relevance (25%), significance of outputs (25%), technical Soundness (20%), composition (10%), and presentation (10%).
Taping was declared champion during this event. Her study was entitled, In Vitro Biocontrol of Fusarium odoratissimum Causing Panama Wilt Using Cardaba Fungal Endophytes. The study of Matanog, the other USM finalist, was entitled, Bioformulation of Microbial Consortium Derived from Fungal Endophytes of Rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) Against Corynespora cassiicola Causing Corynespora Leaf Fall Disease. Both students were supported by a DA Biotech scholarship, with Vice President for Research, Development and Extension Dr. Ma. Teodora N. Cabasan as their adviser. Bernadith T. Borja and Dr. Tamie C. Solpot were the co-advisers of Taping and Matanog, respectively.
The USM finalists were joined by Prof. Harem Roca, Jane Desamito Ranes, and Monien Ordiz.